This should not be a partisan issue. It’s not about Democrats and Republicans; it’s about optimum representation.
Who initiated this change in form of government?
Answer: The four officials of the Republican Party are the signatories on the petition. In an amazing coincidence, this local initiative, with the same wording, is also on the Wasatch County ballot. Wasatch County also has a seven-person commission with two at-large representatives.
Who will decide who would be on the study committee?
Answer: The appointment committee. This committee consists of five Grand County residents. One of those is appointed by our three state representatives, Hinkins (R), Mathis (R) and Watkins (D). One may assume the resultant choice will be selected by the local Republican Party.
The second is appointed by the county council.
The third is appointed by one of the petition sponsors, all officials of the Republican Party.
The other two are chosen by the first three.
These are the people who will choose the members of the study committee, which will consist of from seven to 11 individuals. Given the makeup of the appointment committee, it is unlikely the people chosen for the study committee will decide to retain the seven-person, non-partisan form of government, as the Republican Party has stated they wish to return to a three-person commission.
What qualifications/backgrounds are necessary for those people who would serve on the Study Committee?
Answer: They must be registered voters and not hold any public office or employment.
It is not mandatory that they hold public meetings.
Why would one want to change to a divisive, rancorous partisan government when 60 percent of Grand County voters have chosen to not affiliate with either major party? A non-partisan government means neither party chooses the candidates for county council and that council members are not beholden to a party. They shouldn’t have party members threatening them because they voted their own conscience.
“With these economic times, wouldn’t smaller government make more sense?” This question was actually posed by the “Yes” people.
Answer: Really? Each of our council members receive $700 per month for $8,400 total annual compensation: $8,400 x 7 equals $58,800. Emery County has “smaller government,” i.e. three commissioners. For each, total compensation is $44,572: $44,572 X 3 equals $133,716. San Juan County’s compensation is $48,744. Do the math.
One final question: Do you remember how the three-person commission acted? If not, read last week’s T-I Guest Commentary.