Sandy • With a simple raise of her hand Monday, Monica Zoltanski raised the profile of women.
Taking the oath of office as the first female in Sandy’s 129-year history, Zoltanski said she looked forward to the day when a candidate’s gender no longer makes headlines.
“But for now,” she said, “it is a milestone worth celebrating, and I’m very proud to do that.”
Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson also acknowledged the historic moment in the ceremony at the Alta High School Performing Arts Center.
“It’s about time,” she said, “and I’m looking forward to Monica taking this opportunity.”
Three City Council members were sworn in as well — Brooke D’Sousa to an at-large seat, Ryan Mecham in District 1 and Zach Robinson in District 3.
A Jordan High School choir and Alta High’s drum line performed at Monday’s event, where fewer than a third of the seats were filled and most attendees masked up amid rising COVID-19 cases.
Zoltanski vowed to listen to her constituents, whether lifelong residents or newcomers, and to proactively inform communities of discussions that could affect their neighborhoods.
“Ultimately,” she said, “Sandy City government works best when it reflects the people we serve.”
One of Zoltanski’s goals is to reinforce civic engagement by creating new pathways for residents to participate in decision-making — with outreach ranging from surveys and town halls to public forums and public meetings at convenient times and places.
“We will offer our residents greater access,” she promised, “and better opportunity to influence local decisions.”
Mecham, a new face on the council, centered his speech on engaging communities to build conditions for peace among neighbors.
“The keys for building productive positive peace exists at the local and community level,” he said, “because here we actually see and are in a relationship with the person who needs our help.”
D’Sousa, also elected for her first council term, said she would focus on a budget that reflects the communities’ priorities. She also expressed interest in furthering Sandy’s water conservation efforts.
“I hope to be an advocate for the most vulnerable among us,” she said, “as we work together to solve our challenges and help us truly thrive.”
Robinson, a council incumbent, noted his new role as a representative.
“These last four years of serving as an at-large council member, I got to meet so many wonderful people from all four corners of the city,” Robinson said. “I appreciate the trust that you’ve put in me to send me back to the council representing District 3.”
As coronavirus cases spike again in Utah with the onset of new variants, Zoltanski plans to lead by example and encourage people to get the approved vaccines and booster shots. She also plans to stream most meetings and events so residents can heed social distancing and still participate.
A former Sandy prosecutor, Zoltanski had served on the City Council for two years in District 4, a seat that is now vacant. After a crowded mayoral race, she prevailed, topping businessman Jim Bennett by a mere 21 votes. As mayor, she succeeds Kurt Bradburn, who did not run for a second term.
“I am honored for this opportunity to serve,” Zoltanski said, “and I pledge to work each day committed to preserve and strengthen Sandy, the city we all love.”
She has said in the past that she considers conflict to be a healthy part of the political system that leads to better ideas. She opposes billboards and is not a fan of many developers either.
She is also against bringing more multifamily housing to established neighborhoods, instead suggesting that town homes and condominiums should be constructed close to the freeway.
As she finished her speech Monday, she donned a red cowboy hat, a signature look in her campaign, and said, “Let’s get to work.”
On Monday, other Salt Lake County cities also swore in new mayors — Lorin Palmer in Herriman, Mike Weichers in Cottonwood Heights and Roger Bourke in Alta.