Some members of the Salt Lake County Council want a bigger role in deciding who the mayor appoints to county offices, boards and departments. They’ll consider an ordinance on Tuesday that would give them more time to review the resumes and qualifications of the mayor’s appointees.
The proposal requires the mayor provide information to the council about nominees prior to making an appointment. It also requires some nominees to interview with the council. Republican Council Chair David Wilde is advocating for the changes.
“I absolutely believe that when the mayor is making appointments to important key leadership positions, people who are going to be overseeing how tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars is being spent, that there ought to be some scrutiny," Wilde says.
Currently when the mayor assigns someone to a position, the county council votes to ratify that decision. But Wilde says the council typically does not get a chance to examine the nominee’s credentials, even though they have the authority to reject any appointment the mayor makes except for the post of Deputy Mayor. Wilde tried to subject that appointment to council approval in an earlier proposal, but it was later removed.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says he supports proposal as it stands.
“Any time we have an opportunity for public input and for elected officials to review and scrutinize public servants before they consent to their appointments," McAdams says, "we should do that.”
But McAdams does not believe the deputy mayor’s appointment should require the consent of the council because that position is designed to exercise the political power of the mayor.
“We have separation of powers," McAdams says. "We have an executive branch and a legislative branch and the executive branch should be free to exercise their duties and responsibilities independently of the legislative branch.”
McAdams notes the council has unanimously approved all of his appointments since he took office in November.