SALT LAKE CITY — As state and native officers try to give a recent begin to the scandal-riddled Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake County officers have licensed two nominations for the county’s seat on UTA’s new three-member governing board.
And they are each acquainted faces.
They come with Draper Mayor Troy Walker, who has served on UTA’s board of trustees since 2012, and Laynee Jones, the previous program director of the now-dissolved Mountain Accord, a stakeholder team that has now remodeled into the Central Wasatch Commission to lead long-term decision-making within the central Wasatch Mountains.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and a nominating committee made up of a handful of County Council contributors and different native elected officers selected Walker and Jones out of a pool of 7 candidates as the most efficient certified to constitute Salt Lake County on UTA’s new governing board.
While the nominations drew reward, additionally they raised fear from some contributors at the Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday. Criticism additionally got here Wednesday from critics of the Mountain Accord, which is these days embroiled in a lawsuit claiming violations of Utah open conferences rules.
Walker and Jones’ nominations come after the Utah Legislature handed SB136, a sweeping transportation invoice that incorporated a restructuring of UTA’s governance, requiring that its 16-member board of trustees get replaced with a full-time, three-member board through Nov. 1.
The restructuring is a part of an effort to position UTA’s previous controversies — together with questionable land offers, extravagant govt pay and questions of transparency — to relaxation.
County Councilman Steve DeBry grappled with Walker and Jones’ nominations, despite the fact that he lauded either one of them for their time in public carrier and enjoy.
Addressing Walker, DeBry famous the Draper mayor’s historical past on UTA’s present board of trustees and questioned whether or not appointing him to UTA’s new board would accomplish the purpose of giving the company a recent get started.
“What came in my heart and mind when I learned you’re one of the candidates — it’s the past,” DeBry stated.
“If we want a fresh start, fresh ideas without having bad optics, we don’t want to go around the barn again and come out the same door again with the same people,” DeBry added.
Walker did not reply to DeBry’s feedback right through Tuesday’s assembly, however he stated in an interview Wednesday his enjoy on UTA’s board must be observed “actually as a plus.”
“I think I’ve been an agent of change,” Walker stated. “I’ve advocated for the reforms we’ve made, supported every reform we made after the audits — I was there for all of it. And, frankly, I supported (SB136) unequivocally.”
DeBry additionally identified Jones’ previous with Mountain Accord and the pending lawsuit over whether or not the gang had violated the state’s open conferences rules.
Speaking with the Deseret News on Wednesday, the plaintiff in that lawsuit, assets proprietor Norm Henderson, likewise criticized Walker and Jones’ nominations and whether or not they’d carry UTA the blank slate it wishes. Henderson additionally identified that Walker served on Mountain Accord’s govt board.
“I just find it very curious that (McAdams) is proposing to use two people from a flawed Mountain Accord process that is being criticized for the very same thing they are trying to correct with UTA,” Henderson stated.
Last yr, a pass judgement on discovered the Mountain Accord is topic to Utah’s open conferences rules. McAdams, who used to be chairman of the gang’s govt board, had requested the courtroom to brush aside the go well with in January, arguing the gang used to be made up of personal entities and used to be shaped primarily based by itself constitution, so it wasn’t topic to open conferences rules.
McAdams advised the council on Tuesday the Mountain Accord “never held a closed meeting,” and that it did submit its conferences by itself website online, however the problem used to be whether or not or no longer Mountain Accord used to be required to submit assembly notices at the state’s website online or whether or not it had to report its conferences.
“The Mountain Accord board determined to act in an open way, but there were some technicalities they believe they were not able to comply with, and that’s what’s being discussed right now,” McAdams stated, noting that “Laynee did great work there” and any determinations on whether or not or to not submit the gang’s conferences at the state’s website online “were not any of her responsibility.”
If we would like a recent get started, recent concepts with no need unhealthy optics, we do not wish to move across the barn once more and are available out the similar door once more with the similar other people.
–County Councilman Steve DeBry
Jones answered to DeBry’s questions through arguing she strives to be a “very transparent person.”
“The Mountain Accord machine was much bigger than just myself, and so the decisions were made by the board on how those meetings were conducted,” Jones stated. “I’m a very transparent person, and it is of utmost importance to me that I operate in an open and inclusive way.”
Jones famous the “critics of the Mountain Accord have my cell number,” and that she has met with them a number of occasions in addition to exchanged “hundreds” of emails with them.
“I think it’s important that this body understand that’s how I operate and how important that is to me,” Jones stated.
Both McAdams and contributors of his variety committee argued Jones and Walker have been well-qualified for the placement and each have been decided on to assist UTA right into a new generation.
“I think we are dang lucky as a county to have two incredibly qualified people who have stepped forward and are willing to do this job,” McAdams stated.
Ultimately, Jones and Walker discovered enhance from a majority of the council and their nominations have been forwarded to Gov. Gary Herbert’s workplace for attention, pending approval of the Utah Senate.
Salt Lake County is considered one of a number of different counties who gets appointees at the new board. The two last appointments will come from Davis and Weber counties and Utah and Tooele counties, due July 31. As of Wednesday, Herbert hadn’t but won phrase from the opposite counties about their appointments, in step with the governor’s workplace.
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