Personnel chief tapped as interim county manager
The Summit County Commission has tapped its current human resources director as an interim county manager to help usher in a new form of county government.
Brian Bellamy has worked in personnel at the County Courthouse in Coalville since 1995. Before that he was employed by Salt Lake County as a liaison for elected officials.
Bellamy, who is 54 years old, is not allowed to apply for the permanent county manager position officials expect to fill in 2009. County Commissioner Sally Elliott voted against the appointment at the weekly meeting of the board Wednesday at Kimball Junction. Commissioners Bob Richer and Ken Woolstenhulme supported Bellamy’s hire.
"Reasonable people can disagree and I disagreed with Bob and Ken," said Elliott, who declined to comment further Friday.
According to Woolstenhulme, "We felt like [Bellamy’s] department would be less interrupted by serving there than any of the other departments."
"He can serve there and serve the council well," Woolstenhulme added.
Woolstenhulme said Bellamy will not earn more money for the extra work. Bellamy’s salary is roughly $84,000 per year, according to the Web site utahsright.com, which tracks pay for public employees.
The permanent county manager could earn $130,000 per year, Bellamy said.
Voters in 2006 opted to switch from the traditional three-member commissioner form of government to the five-member council/manger form.
Election Day five councilpersons will be picked and the current three-person Summit County Commission will dissolve at the end of 2008.
Bellamy will help oversee that transition.
"I don’t want to be the permanent county manager when that time comes," Bellamy said in a telephone interview Friday.
The county manager will become the executive branch of government, he explained.
"This person is going to run essentially everything day to day in the county," Bellamy said. "They are the executive of the county and the County Council will be the legislative body."
Wednesday current Summit County Commission Administrator Anita Lewis was named assistant interim county manager. She has worked at the county since 1989.
Two years ago the new form of government passed with a margin that was razor thin.
Almost half of those who voted rejected the change, Bellamy said, adding that only about 51 percent voted ‘yea.’
"They wanted to have one central point for citizens to contact and take care of issues: the manager," Bellamy explained about the vote. "Cities have managers, they have mayors and [citizens] are used to calling one person to get something done."
With three commissioners, "to get most things done it takes two votes," Bellamy said.
The new County Council will hire the permanent manager next year after a selection committee vets possible candidates.
"You’re going to have public citizens involved in the selection," Bellamy said.
But the manager serves at the will of councilpersons, he stressed.
"The County Council has the authority to hire them and to terminate them," Bellamy said. "Hopefully what they’re going to do is hire someone who agrees with the philosophy of the council. If the manager does not agree with the philosophy of the council that person will not be in that seat very long."
He was asked to serve in the interim post, Bellamy said.
"Hopefully they asked me to do it because I am able to work well with all of the different departments," Bellamy said.
Statistics show county managers work an average of about six years before changing jobs, Bellamy said.
"Naturally there is going to be some disagreement between the executive side and the legislative side. That is the way government is set up," he said. "But we want a perfect working relationship so that everything works out smoothly."
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