Record editorial: Park City split votes are not concerning, but their impact on progress can be |

Record editorial: Park City split votes are not concerning, but their impact on progress can be

It has been nine months since the voters in Park City sent a clear message of change.

They voted into office a new mayor and two new Park City Councilors. A third newcomer to the City Council was needed to fill the seat Nann Worel vacated as she moved into the mayor’s office.

The shake-up – which brought four newcomers to the six elected seats in the Park City government structure — was extraordinary, but it also presented, and still presents, challenges. One of them is the role that would ultimately be played by two members of the City Council – Becca Gerber and Max Doilney — whose seats were not on the ballot in 2021 and who are now the Marsac Building veterans.

It was obvious the dynamics between Gerber, Doilney and the other elected officials would become one of the intriguing themes as time wore on, particularly after the two publicly denounced Worel during the campaign last year.

The full slate had, at least outwardly, seemed to be gelling as a set of leaders. But after a recent rift regarding appointments to the Park City Planning Commission, we question whether that was actually the case.

Planning Commission appointments are normally straightforward processes with few sparks. The most recent round, though, was a glaring departure from what is typical. One appointment was made on a unanimous vote.

Two other appointments were made on split votes while another applicant for a spot was rejected on a separate split vote. Doilney and Gerber were the dissenters in two of the split votes while Doilney was the lone dissenter in another.

Split votes and dissenting opinions are a part of the political process and, alone, they are not necessarily of note. In some ways, a split vote can illustrate a healthy diversity in thinking of members of a public body like a city council. They also can show, as may be the case here, elected officials simply not being in step with one another.

The danger is the dissension could become systemic and jeopardize the difficult work that is needed in Park City. The roster of elected officials is intact for another nearly 1 1/2 years. During that time, the mayor and members of the City Council will likely make decisions that will influence Park City decades into the future. Housing, transportation and the possibility of a second Winter Olympics are just some of the topics that will be in front of the elected officials in some form.The community should not be concerned about split City Council votes, but it should be concerned about whether they impede the necessary progress.

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