Proposition 1 survives Coalville canvass
November 18, 2006
Close to 5,500 voters in mostly Park City and the Snyderville Basin succeeded this week in overthrowing their government. Officials must now begin the transition.
Summit County Proposition 1 was approved by a small number of votes cast mostly in Park City and the Snyderville Basin.
With voter turnout at about 45 percent the electorate demanded the Summit County Commission disband and form a five-person county council in 2009.
Prop. 1’s passage means the three-member commission will no longer carry out the county’s legislative and executive functions. But support for the ballot measure fell short of a mandate.
With a 110-vote lead on Election Day, Proposition 1’s passage wasn’t official until more than 400 absentee and provisional ballots were counted this week.
Eligible absentee votes had to be postmarked by Nov. 6 and provisional ballots were cast Election Day by voters not registered in the proper precincts.
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But post-Election Day support for the proposition’s opponents didn’t overcome "yea" votes from supporters who emerged from Wednesday’s canvass with a 236-vote victory.
The plan now requires the Summit County Commission to facilitate transition to a council/manager form of government before Jan. 1, 2009.
Before the current commissioners’ terms end in 2008, voters could select their first five-person, partisan county council.
"Any commissioner whose term did not automatically expire on [Dec. 31, 2008] shall receive compensation of his or her salary and benefits up to [Dec. 31, 2010]," Proposition 1 states.
Without working, Democratic County Commissioners Ken Woolstenhulme and Bob Richer could claim their nearly $70,000 annual compensation packages for two years.
Proposition 1 pegs salaries for new councilors at $1 per year, which elected officials are expected to significantly increase.
But the most controversial aspect of Proposition 1 could be the hiring of a manager to oversee the county’s executive branch, which includes hiring employees and some budget oversight.
Placing those powers in the hands of someone not elected by citizens is distasteful to the plan’s opponents.
Silver Springs resident Ron Duyker insists a citizen committee could form to ease the controversial transition.
"Both East and West have to work together now to make this work," Duyker said.
Likely to command a six-figure salary, the county’s chief executive officer must have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years experience working as a government administrator.
A five-person committee made up of registered Summit County voters could initially vet applicants for the position, according to Proposition 1.
The current County Commission could also hire a manager or interim executive or leave the decision for the newly elected council, the proposition states.
Meanwhile, Snyderville and Park City voters overwhelmingly passed Prop. 1, but the measure didn’t garner a majority anywhere in eastern Summit County.
"It was an indistinguishable difference," Duyker said about the close race. "I think everybody on both sides made a very dignified and valiant effort."
Write ins come up big
Most of the county’s elected officials were unopposed Election Day and Wednesday’s canvass didn’t change any race results.
But 185 likely disgruntled voters supported write-in candidates instead of Summit County Attorney David Brickey.
Woolstenhulme was also unopposed while 170 voters thought someone else would be a better commissioner than the Oakley cattle rancher.
Twenty-one write-in votes were cast against Summit County Recorder Alan Spriggs and 55 voters attempted to oust County Treasurer Glen Thompson.
Fifty-five write-in votes were cast against Assessor Barbara Kresser and 49 people want County Auditor Blake Frazier out of office.
While Democrat Kent Jones defeated Desert Green Kathy Dopp in the county clerk’s race, 53 people supported write-in candidates.
Ten write-in votes were cast in Richer’s convincing defeat of Woodland Republican Bill Miles for a County Commission seat and incumbent Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds staved off a challenge from write-in candidate Brody Taylor by receiving almost 75 percent of the votes.