Guest Opinion: We sit on Summit County Council. The election of Park City is crucial to repairing our failing relationship with City Hall.
Running for office is demanding; this requires a dedicated study of questions better informed by listening to voters during the campaign. Listening to voters cannot stop when the campaign is over and successful. The act of governing is even more difficult and listening should never stop. Clear and transparent communication from elected officials to voters is fundamental for good governance, as is the willingness to invite, listen and take into account public comments. Degrading, limiting, renouncing or obscuring this process is a profound failure of any chosen one.
A second critical requirement of good governance is collaboration with other governing bodies on common issues and challenges. Such collaboration can be compromised if a legislature demands to lead all aspects of a given issue and is unwilling to compromise and collaborate. The need to claim ownership of any idea or initiative is the enemy of good regional collaboration.
As elected officials, we are not immune to the tendency to be irrevocably invested in the goals, strategies and outcomes that we think are best as individuals, and we frequently remind ourselves of the need to collaborate. with our municipal partners, neighboring counties, state legislators and other elected and unelected groups.
We are concerned that over the past four years our ability to collaborate with the park city council and the mayor has declined significantly. During Mayor Jack Thomas’ administration, County Council members had regular communications with Mayor Thomas and Park City Council members – Mayor Thomas called frequently, leading with some sort of joke, and followed him up with “I just wanted to warn you. “We could engage with him in the same way.
This collaboration has deteriorated considerably since Mayor Andy Beerman was seated. From our perspective, Mayor Beerman has charted a more isolated course on a variety of issues. More disturbingly, board member Tim Henney has taken the same isolationist positions. As a result, collaboration with them essentially stopped, except for the incredible efforts of municipal staff in Summit County and Park City. Perhaps the most obvious example is the split in the transit system.
Summit County Council and Park City Council had several meetings each year to discuss common challenges, strategies and solutions; we cannot remember the last time we had such a meeting under the administration of Mayor Beerman. While communication between Summit County Council and Mayor Beerman and most of Park City Council slowed, it did not stop. Board members Nann Worel and Steve Joyce remained voluntary partners and collaborators. They always reach out to discuss important issues and we know we will be heard when we contact them. As Joyce leaves office, we are deeply concerned about the decline in our relationships and communication.
While individual council members can support either candidate in the municipal election, we recognize that this letter is extraordinary. This reflects our belief that the Park City municipal election represents a critical pivot point in an important regional relationship. As individuals and as a group, we support Nann Worel as the new mayor of Park City.
Nann listens with genuine interest. She is strategic, she is intelligent, she is thoughtful, she collaborates and solves problems, she is kind, she is transparent and she does not judge. She has a solid background in business. She is not vindictive, she is not isolationist, she is not ego driven. She accepts responsibility and does not blame or accuse others of spreading “disinformation” when they disagree with her. She invites the public to consider carefully and is ready to accept responsibility and re-engage when a public process is far from complete and transparent. In short, it reflects the qualities of an excellent chosen one.
We look forward to re-engaging with the mayor’s office and city council with Worel as mayor. We hope you forgive us for our intrusion, but we believe this is a very important election for both the city and the county.