South Jordan City Council Report
“Consider the Source”
I wish I had the words requisite to demonstrate my gratitude and appreciation for the support my family and I have received as I have had the privilege of serving our friends and families in South Jordan. Whether we have talked about your concerns at the grocery story, shared thoughts for the future of our community at an event, or just enjoyed our great city together, your kindness and thoughtfulness always makes my chance to serve very rewarding.
Nothing anyone ever does as an elected official can ever really outweigh the greatness of the citizens of a community. South Jordanis great because of it residents, not any single elected official or legislative body. So if any politician tells you otherwise, remember that he or she is a politician, so consider the source!
When I was elected, my commitment and my oath were to represent all of those within South Jordan, and not simply those of one political party or affiliation. City council members by design have always been intended to represent the residents and the city, independent of party affiliation or personal preferences. Simply glancing at a news program reveals how our nation suffers at the hands of partisan politicians protecting political turf.
It concerns me, and friends, it should always concern you whenever a local elected official supports a position because of their personal political affiliation or beliefs. That is not to say that elected officials should act without principles. What is damaging is when those principles reflect a narrow band of the political spectrum, rather than the best interests of our neighbors. South Jordanresidents will always come first, and my party or political beliefs second. Many of you are rightly concerned to see such partisanship enter our local arena. Again, if any politician tells you otherwise, consider the source!
Our form of government has provided this city with some unique opportunities over the past few years. I or any other single elected official could not take credit for any one change or success in our city alone. The credit belongs with the people who make the city run every day. The past city councils worked together without regard to their special interests or agendas. We made the best decisions we could at the time with the information available.
The advantage of our form of government is the city has a sustainable plan that when an elected official leaves we don’t have to scrap all the ordinances and plans and start over as a city. As an impartial mayor and council, it is very unwise to think we can come in and abandon all of the progress the city has achieved. There are, sadly, examples in Utah of communities where local elected officials, because of the form of government, have come in and made sweeping changes which ultimately harm the community. I would hope our residents understand and jealously guard our form of government from those who would change it whole or by degree.
South Jordan is protected from these types of calamities by design. The “weak” mayor and city council positions were never intended to be full-time jobs. Full-time politicians have demonstrated over the last several centuries the potentiality to focus more and more on their gains, and less on the needs of the community. The residents of the community and past councils had foresight in the way South Jordan’s form of government runs today for the size of the community we have. South Jordan’s growth will never result in the need for a full-time mayor and council. Furthermore, the opportunity for residents to serve should remain exactly that, service to the community.
As city council members, we do get a small compensation but I would never expect to be paid a full salary or benefits for part time service. Moreover, I would be hesitant to elect or keep in local government anyone official who felt otherwise. My neighbors have told me they feel the same on this issue.
A final point about your local government. I always remember that we as a council and mayor do not have the expertise to run the city alone. The council and mayor hire a city manager. The city manager hires professionals and staff to oversee management positions, and if we as the council do our jobs correctly, we trust the city manager to run day-to-day operations of our city employees. We trust the staff to carry out the assignments and use their expertise they have in their departments.
Our public servants under the leadership of our city manager are doing great things. Crime is low. Streets are repaired. The city is vibrant and green. Council members don’t mow the grass, fix the roads, or chase the bad guys. Council members should support those who do. I can tell you examples of Utahcities where mayors and council members overstep their granted authority and try to act as public employees. It results in disasters and lawsuits, and ultimately ruins the quality of life. I wouldn’t get surgery from a mechanic, and never trust a part time council member who thinks he is an expert on everything in a city. If a politician tells you otherwise, consider the source.
From time to time our neighbors hear whispers of converting the city to what is known as a “strong” mayor form of government. Thankfully, this type of change would require approval of our residents, who would wisely reject such a proposal. A strong mayor form of government would increase the salary and benefits of the council and would become party affiliated.
Again, I can point you to several sad examples of this happening in Utah, but friends, I am afraid it is happening here in South Jordan. You should be rightly worried that one of the most discussed topics on the city council agenda over the past year is compensation and power for newer members of the council and the appointed mayor. I see the council divided as they try to gain compensation and power. As stated previously, I know that our council is compensated fairly as we give service to the community. If a politician tries to tell you otherwise, say it with me now, consider the source.
As a resident and council member, I would not support a strong mayor government. We have one of the best run cities in Utah. We have a conservative and balanced budget, great employees, and the best residents in the valley. We are growing in business and residents helping our community grow and build out. We are doing our best to minimize taxes in the city and maintain services and maintain the feeling and beauty of the community. As council members the council appointed a mayor to fill the remaining term of Mayor Money.
This year it will be your turn to decide who the next mayor will be and what their intentions are for the city concerning growth, compensation and power. We have a great city, and friends, let’s continue to use the path and practices which have brought us the beautiful city we all enjoy.
Still a Concerned Citizen