Jack Thomas, envisioning a whole community, becomes Park City’s mayor
January 7, 2014
Jack Thomas, an architect who envisions a more contemplative process at City Hall, was sworn into office as Park City’s mayor early Monday evening.
In front of an audience of City Hall officials, family members and supporters who packed into the Park City Council chambers, Judge Shauna Kerr administered the oath of office. Thomas received a standing ovation after his swearing-in to a four-year term ending in early 2018.
Thomas succeeded the retired Dana Williams, who served three terms in the mayor’s office starting in early 2002 and did not seek re-election last year. Williams supported Thomas in the mayoral contest in 2013 and was in the audience on Monday.
Thomas, a Park Meadows resident who has lived in Park City since 1992, spoke for approximately three minutes, 30 seconds after he took the oath of office, acknowledging the service of Williams and outgoing City Councilor Alex Butwinski, praising City Hall staffers and saying he will "search for the best ideas and the most creative solutions."
Thomas said he will always listen to the people as Park City encounters challenges, will attempt to fit the bits and pieces of Park City together to make a better whole and said he is excited to garner input from City Hall staffers. He said the municipal government has an "incredible staff of professionals who work here."
He also thanked the other candidates in last year’s election. Some of them were in the City Council chambers for the swearing-in ceremony, including his opponent in the mayoral election, City Councilman Andy Beerman.
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"It was an educational process, something that pushed me beyond my limits and put me into my discomfort zone, and I learned that was a good place to be."
He said he and Tim Henney, who was sworn into office as a City Councilman on Monday, spent three weeks meeting with City Hall staffers learning about municipal departments.
"I know we’re going to have some lively debates, but I also know that we’ll always treat each other with respect," Thomas said.
Thomas, who is in his late 60s, ascends to the mayor’s office from the Park City Planning Commission. He served on the influential panel twice. Thomas campaigned for the mayor’s office stressing a vision for a decision-making process at City Hall that is more studious, something that is often on display at the Planning Commission level. He addressed a range of issues during the campaign, including housing, the middle class and growth. Thomas has a detailed understanding of City Hall’s development rules and, as a member of the Planning Commissioner, has played a key role in the long-running discussions about the municipal government’s growth strategies.
Thomas on Monday described his idea of a community: "a whole that is a healthy economy, a whole that has a complete cross-section of people, in terms of their ages and their incomes, a whole perspective, not just the short term, but the midterm, the long-term ramifications of the decisions that we make . . . and a whole in terms of our inclusiveness . . ."
Neither Henney nor City Councilwoman Cindy Matsumoto, who was sworn in for a second term, addressed the crowd in the same fashion as Thomas.
Matsumoto told Kerr her first term was a "wonderful four years" as she took the oath of office. In the days before the swearing-in ceremony, Henney said he wants to combat congestion in Park City and support the city’s middle class. Matsumoto campaigned on a wide-ranging platform that included historic preservation, open space preservation and open government.
Thomas is scheduled to preside over his first City Council meeting on Thursday starting with a closed-door session to discuss property, personnel and litigation scheduled to last nearly two hours. The public agenda on Thursday, beginning at 4:30 p.m., includes topics like the Park City Library and Education Center and temporary alcohol licenses.