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PAC formed to fight ballot measure

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Money contributed by Democrats this campaign season to fight a ballot measure could flow into the hands of Republicans in Summit County.

Summit County Democratic Party chair Rob Weyher has already contributed at least $250 to a political action committee in the county called Less is Best.

"I plan on giving $5,000 of my personal money to Less is Best," Weyher said Monday.

Former Democratic Party chair Mike Marty said he formed Less is Best to defeat a proposal to change the three-member Summit County Commission to a five-member council with an appointed manager. Sixty-four percent of the electorate supported a ballot proposition in 2004 calling for the formation of a committee to study whether county government should change.

With a 2-1 vote, the Summit County Commission will allow voters to decide in November whether to change the County Commission to a five-member council/manager format, based on the recommendation from the study committee.

As chairman of the Less is Best committee, however, Marty, who is a Democrat, has contributed at least $250 to Woodland Republican Bill Miles’ bid to unseat Democratic Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer in November.

According to Marty, Less is Best has received "thousands of dollars" in contributions. But Weyher insists his $250 donation to the committee, was not intended as support for Miles’ campaign.

"I would rather have the resolution fail more than the re-election of Bob Richer, but I really want both," Weyher said, adding that he has never met Miles.

So far, Miles says he is against the recommendation to change the form of government in Summit County.

"Right now, if you were to ask me to vote, I’d vote against [the recommendation]," Miles said.

When Marty contributed $250 in cash to his campaign last month, Miles said he was told the money came from Weyher.

"Rob Weyher gave the money to [Marty]," Miles said, adding that his list of campaign contributors this week identified Weyher as a donor.

Weyher countered that he supports Richer in the commission race.

"Bob and I do not see eye to eye on one major issue and that’s the proposed change in county government," Weyher said.

He criticized Richer for allowing supporters of changing the form of government to respond to opposition after a recent public hearing in Snyderville had been closed.

"Bob Richer continually said that this was not a debate. But he closed the public hearing and then gave the committee that is supporting the change in government the opportunity to rebut everything said in opposition," Weyher said, adding that Richer has often spoken in favor of the change. "Of course Bob Richer’s for it he invented it."

Hiring a competent manager for the county will cost in excess of $150,000 per year, Weyher said, adding that the person would only be needed to oversee the county’s Public Works and Community Development departments.

"Every time they say that county employees need better supervision and that the county is not well managed, I take offense to that," Weyher said. "Summit County is extremely well managed."

Weyher also criticized Richer for not pushing for the appointment of Park City resident Deedee Corradini, a former Salt Lake City mayor, to the study board.

"As chair of the Democratic Party, I asked for one person to be put on that committee," Weyher said. "[Richer] refused to put [Corradini] on because he said she was too controversial."

Other members of the Less is Best committee include Democratic Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier, Democratic Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme and western Summit County residents Dave Evans and Rob Morris, Marty said.

"Money was given by [Less is Best] to kick start Bill Miles’ campaign, because he is in opposition to the change in county government," Marty said. "It’s not in opposition to Bob Richer’s candidacy, it’s in opposition to Bob’s support of the change in county government and the disingenuous way he went about it."

Meanwhile, Richer claims he will have bipartisan support for his November re-election bid.

"These elections in Summit County don’t run across partisan lines as much as they do elsewhere," he said when contacted Monday, adding that West Side Republicans Eric Schifferli and Max Greenhalgh supported his last campaign. "This time around I will have equal or greater amounts of high-profile Republican support."

Commenting about Weyher’s contribution, Richer said: "What Rob Weyher does or doesn’t do, is not my concern, nor my business I hardly even know the guy is the reality of the situation."

Other election news:

According to Summit County Clerk Sue Follett, Scott Mark, a South Summit Democrat who challenged incumbent Republican Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, withdrew from the race Monday.

Mark did not return telephone calls seeking comment for this story.


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