Not everyone thought Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams did such a masterful job in crafting legislation that protects unincorporated-area boundaries while the future of that area is discussed.
Members of the Association of Community Councils Together (ACCT), which includes representatives from many of the county’s 16 community councils, didn’t think the mayor’s office kept them in the loop enough about what was going on as a frequently changing bill wound its way to legislative approval.
Their rancor boiled over after McAdams announced at the April 8 council meeting that a page on the county’s website contained an application form for people interested in being on a citizens advisory committee that will make suggestions about service delivery and future governance in the county’s unincorporated townships. And he didn’t tell ACCT first.
“We’re part of the official structure. … Are we really accepted, recognized?” ACCT President Paulina Flint questioned at a recent County Council meeting. “We feel like we’ve been thrown to the four winds. We want to continue to believe and trust [in the mayor’s process], but communication is lacking sorely.”
Added Mount Olympus Community Council member Janet Geyser: “Why are we learning of these things from the newspaper? You know those reporters. They get things wrong.”
McAdams was not at the meeting, leaving his defense to Deputy Mayor Nichole Dunn.
“Clearly we had a communications breakdown,” she said, apologizing to the community councils. “We do value ACCT.”
Dunn said the deadline to apply for the volunteer board could be extended until May 12, four days after ACCT’s next meeting so the community councils could come up with nominees who would be representative of the unincorporated area’s diversity.
The council agreed to that recommendation, with Chairman Michael Jensen saying the advisory committee has to be broad based or it won’t receive council approval.
McAdams had one supporter in the community council ranks, Mount Olympus Chairman Jeff Silvestrini.
“Not all of us brought our pitchforks today,” he said, citing the many meetings McAdams had with different groups as the “Community Preservation Act” bill went through three major revisions before lawmakers signed off on it.
“I’ve never had a problem with communications,” he said, “and I trust you to provide a balanced committee.”
People interested in being on a citizen’s advisory committee dealing with unincorporated-area issues can find an application form at www.slco.org/mayor/html/CommunityPreservation.html.