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Salt Lake County mayor's race attracts big field

Published March 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Politics • Longtime auditor tosses hat in ring, joining crowd.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After 22 years in the Salt Lake County Auditor's office, Larry Decker believes he knows the ins and outs of county government and really appreciates the importance of maintaining Salt Lake's AAA bond rating.

If he were county mayor, he would strive to make it function as efficiently as possible, said Decker, a sixth candidate to seek the Republican nomination for the executive's position.

"My experience in financial matters sets me apart from the other candidates," said Decker, 52, of Taylorsville, an internal auditor who checks the books of most county departments. "[My] reviews of county departments have provided me perspective on where improvements and changes could be made to streamline operations."

Decker joins a GOP mayoral candidate contingent that includes County Recorder Gary Ott, Councilman Richard Snelgrove, West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, former Councilman Mark Crockett and former U.S. Rep. Merrill Cook.

The Democrats have two candidates: state Sens. Ben McAdams and Ross Romero.

Decker said he would emphasize policies and procedures that protect the AAA rating of reliability that bonding companies have assigned Salt Lake County. Achieving that elite status, which only a few local governments have, "sets us apart. It reflects the values that the people in Salt Lake County espouse," he said.

Having seem the effect that municipal incorporations have had on county revenue streams over the past two decades, Decker is an advocate of working closely with the cities on consolidating the delivery of some services — much like what was done in the realm of public safety with the creation of the Unified Police Department and the Unified Fire Authority.

"That would bring benefits to the taxpayers," he said.

Decker also supports the SkiLink proposal, in which Canyons Resort outside of Park City would like to build a gondola over the ridge into Big Cottonwood Canyon to hook up with Solitude Mountain Resort.

"It would be beneficial for the economy. Of course," he added, "it should be done in a responsible way."

Decker said he has bachelor's degrees in political science from the University of Utah and in accounting from Southern Utah University.