Guest opinion: We serve on the Summit County Council. The Park City election is crucial to repairing our faltering relationship with City Hall.
Summit County Council members
Running for elected office is demanding; it requires a dedicated study of issues best informed by listening to voters during the campaign. Listening to constituents cannot stop when the campaign is complete and successful. The act of governing is even more challenging and the listening should never stop. Clear, transparent communication from elected officials to constituents is fundamental to good governance, as is the willingness to invite, listen to and consider public input. To demean, limit, forego or obscure that process is a profound failure of any elected official.
A second and critical requirement of good governance is collaboration with other governing bodies about common issues and challenges. Such collaboration can be impaired if one legislature demands to lead in all aspects of any given issue and is unwilling to compromise and collaborate. A need to claim ownership of any idea or initiative is the enemy of good regional collaboration.
As elected officials, we are not immune to the tendencies to be irrevocably vested in the goals, strategies and outcomes we think best as individuals, and we frequently remind each other of the need to engage with our municipal partners, neighboring counties, state legislators and other elected and non-elected groups.
We are concerned that over the past four years our ability to collaborate with the Park City Council and mayor faltered substantially. During Mayor Jack Thomas’ administration, County Council members had regular communication with Mayor Thomas and Park City Council members — Mayor Thomas would frequently call, leading with some kind of joke, and follow it with “I just wanted to give you a heads up.” We could engage with him in the same manner.
That collaboration degraded substantially since Mayor Andy Beerman was seated. From our perspective, Mayor Beerman charted a more insular path on a variety of issues. More troubling, council member Tim Henney adopted the same isolationist positions. As a result, collaboration with them essentially stopped except for the incredible efforts of the Summit County and Park City Municipal staffs. The split of the transit system is perhaps the most obvious example.
The Summit County Council and Park City Council used to have multiple meetings each year to discuss common challenges, strategies and solutions; we cannot remember the last time we had such a meeting under Mayor Beerman’s administration. While communication between the Summit County Council and Mayor Beerman and most of the Park City Council slowed, it did not stop. Council members Nann Worel and Steve Joyce have remained willing partners and collaborators. They still reach out to discuss important issues and we know we will be heard when we reach out to them. As Joyce leaves office, we are deeply concerned our relationship and communication will further decline.
While individual council members may endorse one or another candidate in municipal elections, we recognize this letter is extraordinary. It reflects our belief that the Park City Municipal election represents a critical pivot point in an important regional relationship. As individuals and as a group, we endorse Nann Worel as Park City’s new mayor.
Nann listens with genuine interest. She is strategic, she is smart, she is thoughtful, she is a collaborator and problem solver, she is kind, she is transparent and she is non-judgmental. She has a strong business background. She is not vindictive, she is not isolationist, she is not ego driven. She accepts responsibility and does not blame or accuse others of spreading “misinformation” when they disagree with her. She invites public scrutiny and is willing to accept responsibility and reengage when a public process is less than complete and transparent. In sum, she reflects the attributes of an excellent elected official.
We look forward to reengaging with the mayor’s office and the City Council with Worel as mayor. We hope you will forgive our intrusion but believe this is a very important election both for the city and the county.
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