West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder announced today that he will not run for re-election later this year. Despite problems plaguing the city’s police force and a scandal where Winder admitted writing articles under a pen-name praising his city, he says he’s proud of his tenure as Mayor.
Winder says the $35K annual salary he receives as Mayor is not enough to provide for his family and he’ll be looking for a better paying job when his term ends next January. He says West Valley City’s economy blossomed on his watch.
“You look at the Valley Fair Mall; you have the number one Olive Garden in North America. You have the highest-tech movie theater in the country. You drive to the west; you pass the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel, the new Granger High School,” he says.
In 2011, Winder admitted that he was also Richard Burwash, the pen name he used to write articles touting the successes of West Valley City. While the scandal didn’t result in Winder leaving office, he did lose his other job in public relations. Recently the West Valley Police Department is trying to recover from dozens of drug cases being dismissed and the department’s inability to solve the Susan Cox Powell case. Winder says these issues had nothing to do with his decision not seek re-election.
“Those police challenges we had were part of the challenges that come across the desk every day as a mayor and that’s part of the thrill of the job is problem solving and dealing with tough issues and I’ll miss that,” he says.
Winder says he’s still considering his options when his term ends and that includes running for higher office in the future.