July deadline looms to fill out survey

Change in form of government study

There are only four questions to answer in a survey regarding the pending change in Grand County’s form of government, and while no question requires a written essay to answer – simply circle a number or provide a checkmark on the appropriate line – the answer to each question will go a long way in helping members of the committee studying the issue make up their collective mind.

Time is of the essence. The deadline to submit a survey is July 5. The committee on June 14 agreed to reach out to residents during Independence Day festivities at Swanny Park, where they will have a booth. Until then, people interested in weighing in can contact Grand County administration and fill out a survey at the courthouse, or email the committee at [email protected].

In an effort to keep someone from possibly “stuffing the ballot box,” as it were, a tight handle on the surveys will be used. To date, about 130 people who have attended one of three open houses held earlier this month have completed the survey. They represent about 1 percent of the population, give or take a point or two, which probably isn’t adequate for an accurate extrapolation.

Here are the four questions for people to study before they ask for a survey.

Question 1: Which of the four forms of Utah government would be the best option for Grand County? Rank in order of preference, with one being the best and four the worst.

  • Commission, three people with legislative and executive power
  • Expanded commission of five or seven with legislative and executive power
  • Council of three, five, seven or nine with legislative power and an elected executive, or mayor, who has executive and veto power
  • Council of three, five, seven or nine, with legislative power and a hired county manager with executive power

Question 2: Circle the ideal number of members on a commission or council: 3, 5, 7 or 9 – note: commission forms of government typically have three, five or seven members while council forms can have three, five, seven or nine members.

Question 3: Are you in favor of commissioners or council members being full time, part time or a mixture?

  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Mixture of both

Question 4: Prioritize how you would prefer to vote for commissioners or council members. Rank in order of preference, with 1 being the best and 3 the worst:

  • All by district
  • All at large
  • A combination of districts and at large.
Cricket Green

When the study committee met June 14, Cricket Green was the only member staunchly opposed to districts, saying it is difficult getting people to run for office in a county like Grand with a relatively small population.

There were also concerns regarding gerrymandering, where districts can be drawn based not on raw population figures, but politics. In the end, it was decided to postpone taking action in favor of meeting with experts in drawing district maps.

In another postponement, the committee declined to take action on hiring a law firm that would be tasked with drafting the new form of government once it’s hammered out – and Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan can review the proposed draft.

Bob Greenberg

Member Bob Greenberg said local attorney Steve Russell offered to do the work for a maximum of $3,000 for the estimated 20 hours worth of work. Two other law firms also might be considered: Snell & Wilmer and Parr Brown, both based out of the Wasatch Front and two firms that have tangled over the change of government issue.

The Grand County Republican Party retained Snell & Wilmer to represent it in a lawsuit against Grand County earlier this year when it tried to take control of the process of changing the county’s form of government.

Snell & Wilmer would have to receive a waiver from the county if it is to represent the committee. Parr Brown represented the county and prevailed in the litigation, but it is unknown if they had been contacted as proposed. The committee voted 4-1 to postpone action. Chair Steven Stocks was the no vote, arguing it’s time for the committee to move forward.

The study committee next meets at noon Friday, June 21, at council chambers in the Grand County Courthouse.