Salt Lake County Mayor

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    Mark Crockett (Rep) mangement consultant

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    Ben McAdams (Dem) Strategic Adviser to Mayor Becker, Utah State Senator

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Education often is viewed of as a responsibility of the state Legislature. Are there ways the county mayor can be involved in improving the eduction of Utah children? And if so, how would you go about implementing those ideas?

Do you believe residents in Salt Lake County townships would be better served by incorporating as municipalities? Why or why not?

In what ways does Salt Lake County government need to function better? How would go about addressing those issues?

When do you believe it's appropriate to raise property taxes?

What differences do you see between yourself and your opponent(s)?

What specific measures should be taken to fix the nation's economy?

What is the most important issue your electoral position faces? How would you resolve this issue?

The County has no direct role in education. But few things matter as much as education for our children. So as County Mayor I will have the County help in all the ways we can. Here are three:- Taxes. Our family budgets can only be stretched and taxed so much. The County can help education by keeping its financial house in order and not competing for scarce tax dollars that our schools need more. A full plan of how we will make the County more efficient and keep taxes down is at - Families. Children with problems at home tend to suffer in school. The core purpose of the County is to help families and children in need. We will make our these Human and Community Services programs more effective by building stronger support networks with civic, religious and volunteer organizations and by learning to do a better job of matching individual people with the programs that will help them most. - Equalized Funding. As a County, we will actively support State initiatives to- Empower parents and teachers - Equalize funding for each student (rather than by school district)
As County Mayor, my job will be to make it irresistible for unincorporated areas to stay in the County and for other cities to join in regional services. We will offer the very best services at the lowest possible costs, while listening to each and every concern. But community decisions are usually best when decided in our communities. That is why 16 cities have decided to incorporate. Millcreek may well decide that it too can lower its taxes and improve its infrastructure and quality of life by incorporating. Either way, the County will be there to help. And either way, the County needs to have a plan to ensure good services and low costs for the remaining unincorporated areas.
1) Like any home or organization, the County can be better in everything it does. So next year we will launch a systematic and county-wide process to bring employees and stakeholders together to find and implement thousands of improvements. We will find at least $40 million of efficiencies and improve services in every program and function. This may sound difficult and it is, but I have spent my career helping large companies and government like the County improve their operations and slim their budgets by $ billions a year. The month-by-month plan for how we will do it together is outlined at By the end of next year, we will be able to avoid tax increases and make some overdue investments in key systems and human services.2) We live in an amazing community. We show up and we volunteer. Remember how we came together for the 2002 Winter Olympics. And yet, our County’s jail, mental health, drug treatment and other human services have not proven more effective than the rest of the country. These core services touch people’s lives and families deeply. By creating learning models with data, statistics and innovation, we will do a better job of identifying root causes and matching people with the programs most likely to work best. When times are tough, we need to put first things first. And it is time for the County to put people first. By fixing the budget and making our services more effective, we can make a real and measurable difference in our quality of life. We can do it better, we can do it smarter and we can do it for less.
Only after we have done all we can to make programs more efficient and effective and there is still a compelling and unmet need – and when taxpayers can afford it.We do need our County programs. But we have not yet done all we can to make our programs more efficient and effective. And with times still tough, too many of us just can’t afford more taxes right now. So it is not yet time to raise County taxes. Longer-term, we can grow our community and expand our services without raising taxes by growing our economy. We can make Salt Lake County a better, easier place to do business and we have real opportunities to responsibly bring exciting jobs to our valley.
The County Mayor is the executive of our county government. And Salt Lake County is a big, complicated organization. It has an $820 million budget, 3,600 employees and over 300 programs. Our next County Mayor needs to be a proven manager. We need someone who has led and transformed organizations. Why? Because there will be no time for on-the-job training. We need someone ready to hit the ground running.I have spent my career growing businesses as a CEO and consultant, transforming large companies and governments – saving them $ billions a year. For months, my website ( has included a month-by-month plan for bringing stakeholders together to transform the County. How can I be so confident that this is the right approach and that it will work? Because I have done it many times before. Another difference is a knowledge of and passion for the County’s core human services programs. I serviced on the County Council for four years, 2005-2008. On day one, I can and will begin working to improve our county rather than taking months or years to learn my way around. My opponent is a good man who is a lawyer and professional politician. But he has never been a manager or been responsible for a budget. He does not have the skill set or experience required to lead or transform a large organization like the County.
The biggest long-term risks to the economy are the debt and deficit. We have all seen what happened when our home mortgage bubble popped. We also see what is happening in Europe as their government borrowing bubble begins to pop. At our current rate of borrowing, we don’t have many years before the U.S. borrowing bubble may become unrecoverable. We can’t let that happen. Just as our families are learning again to live within our household budgets, we need our government to live within its means as well. Then, the best thing for the economy is for government to simplify taxes and regulations and get out of the way. When small businesses can grow in confidence, we can all have confidence in our future as a nation.
Just like our Country, the County’s first issue its budget. The County has been holding together its budget by holding down employee pay – and that is not sustainable. But with so many families still hurting, it is no time to raise taxes. So we simply have to rethink the way we do things – making them simpler, easier and more effective. We also need to slow down our borrowing for expensive buildings and put people first. Without fixing our budget, we can’t get past first. But the core, required and most important County human services all revolve around people we are concerned about, but have not given up on.- Our senior programs help older parents stay in their homes. - Our drug treatment programs help autistic children, depressed spouses and the chronically sick learn to cope and function in society. - Our drug treatment programs make our community safer, save costs in our criminal justice programs and save lives. We need to make these programs to be more effective. We can learn to do a better job of matching people with the programs most likely to work best. It will make a world of difference in our community. And in the ways that matter most, our County can become a model for other communities to see and follow.
I will use my position as county mayor to bring together parents, teachers, business leaders and policy makers from both political parties to develop solutions to the challenges facing our schools and produce results. In order to improve the education of Utah children, as county mayor, I would begin by building coalitions and partnerships - coalitions of mayors, business leaders, parents, and educators to advocate for improved school funding and investment in the community’s greatest assets: our children; partnerships of school districts to develop mentoring programs for schools and to improve awareness of new and existing county programs that support the physical and behavioral health of youth. I would also double option after-school programs to ensure that our children receive every opportunity available.As County Mayor, I will lead efforts to support our neighborhood schools and improve the education of our children. I worry about the quality of education our children will receive if our elected leaders don’t work together to find solutions to better support our schools. I will use every tool available to me as County Mayor to create a safe learning environment in our schools and give every child the opportunity to gain a quality education. Salt Lake County plays an essential role in education by providing programs and partnerships that address the needs of children and their families. For youth to be successful in school, they must show up ready to learn. The County must provide the leadership, partnerships, programs and services that support children outside of school so they can be successful.
As I travel throughout our county during this campaign, I am continually impressed with the unique character and needs of the distinct geographic areas in the Great Basin. I respect the ability of residents of unincorporated areas to determine the best governance model for their unique circumstances and believe the decision regarding whether or not to incorporate should be made solely by residents of Millcreek. More importantly, whatever their ultimate decision may by, Millcreek residents will need the full support of their County Mayor - someone who is unbiased and open to collaboration when it comes all areas of Salt Lake County. I will vigorously advocate to implement or abide by whatever governance choices are made by the residents of a local jurisdiction.
The menu of governance options available to residents of Salt Lake County has grown beyond a discussion of incorporation or remaining unincorporated. Regional governance models, such as the Unified Fire Authority, transcend traditional municipal boundaries while still maintaining local control. These regional public safety delivery models save taxpayer dollars and improve the quality of service for residents of the districts. Salt Lake County government is transitioning away from its involvement in providing municipal services as regional entities, such as the Unified Fire Authority, become gradually more independent from county government and increasingly accountable to their municipal and unincorporated clients. Furthermore, through the growth of regional service providers, the barriers between one city and the next and between cities and unincorporated areas become blurred. This movement toward greater consolidation of municipal services in Salt Lake County is an opportunity for positive change, and, as appropriate, the reinvention of county government, improving relations among city governments and a capitalizing on cost-saving efficiencies for the benefit of taxpayers. Seizing this historic moment for greater cooperation and consolidation which will result in taxpayer savings, cannot be realized without a leader in county government who is capable of bringing together differing interests by negotiating and mediating solutions. I am that leader.
Several years ago, I was hired to bring my private sector business perspective to municipal government. My background as a corporate finance attorney, working with large organizations and complex financial transactions, has been valuable as I work to find innovative was to get things done and save money without raising taxes. One of my successes was bringing our community together to rebuild and shorten the North Temple viaduct in Salt Lake City, making dozens of acres of an abandoned rail yard available for development. We did this by building consensus, without raising taxes. I’m going to make sure every tax dollar we have will be used wisely, and only for the most important services. We’ve got to find efficiencies every year, and I commit that my administration will find at least 5% in efficiencies every single year that I am the Mayor of Salt Lake County. I will base every decision in real-time facts. That’s what the free market does, that’s what business does, and that’s what government should do. As Mayor of Salt Lake County, I will oversee the County’s first comprehensive performance review to identify areas for savings from both increased efficiency and improved program effectiveness. This approach is unique because it is not limited by the boundaries or programs of specific departments, but instead focuses on cross-cutting operations of government functions. This will translate into savings of roughly $22 million for Salt Lake County.
I am a moderate who works across party lines to produce results. I have earned the support of Republican, independent, and Democratic leaders – 13 of 17 mayors in Salt Lake County support me because they trust my ability to get things done. My broad base of support is evidence of my ability to bring diverse groups together based on our shared Utah values. My greatest strength is my willingness to listen to others and truly hear their concerns. I find that when I listen to others, they also listen to me and we are able to find solutions that work for all sides. My opponent and I both have significant private sector experience. We have both worked in local government. I have an established record of working across party lines, bringing people together and delivering results. There are serious challenges on the horizon for the residents of Salt Lake County. Our population will double from 1 million to over 2 million in the next 20 years. Will we make decisions today to continue to maintain a quality school system? Will we make choices today to preserve open space, parks and trails? When our children and grandchildren complete their education or job training, will good paying jobs be available to them right here in Salt Lake County? We must elect a leader who can bring together our community, who will listen to differing concerns, competing objectives and develop solutions to shape our future and maintain the high quality of life families in Salt Lake County enjoy today.
I believe that government spending and escalating debt is the single largest threat to the long-term viability of our nation’s economy. Federal deficit spending and increasing national debt is at a crisis level. Both parties must work together and find solutions to federal budget deficits and eliminate the national debt.
Maintaining the quality of our education system is the single most important issue facing residents of our county. The quality of our schools affects nearly every other issue of significance. It affects our economy, our quality of life, and our county’s ability to attract high paying jobs. My wife and I worry about the quality of education our own children, who attend our neighborhood school, will receive during the next 20 years. Some say that education is a state issue. Others say it is a federal issue. What I know is that this is the single most important issue for families and children in Salt Lake County. If it is the most important issue to them, then it will be the most important issue to me if I am elected to be their voice and their champion. I will work with parents, teachers, policy-makers – both Republican and Democrat, and business leaders, to build consensus, to advocate for improved school funding and investment in the community’s greatest assets: our children; partnerships of school districts to develop mentoring programs for schools and to improve awareness of new and existing county programs that support the physical and behavioral health of youth. I would also double option after-school programs to ensure that our children receive every opportunity available.