20100331 UT County Candidates mingle

I had a chance to meet in Springville with a number of candidates who are running for County offices. If you go to the candidates sites you can get more “glossy” information. It was hard to get to meet the candidates since the format was so loose, but here are some of my notes.

Commissioner “B” – Steve White: I asked a number of questions and he responded quickly to each of them. 1. He is pleased with ankle bracelet program. 2/3 of the county budget goes to the Sheriff’s department. 2. Commuter rail should be completed in 2012. 3. The county paid its portion of a bike trail development project along the canal in Orem (out of Provo Canyon) which cost $919,000.00. 4. There is no need to increase the number of commissioners, it would only cost more money.

Commissioner “B” – Linda Housekeeper: She has concerns about how well the county is being run. The largest concern relates to accounting methods and salary increases. Considering the fact that we are in a down economy, we should have considered pay decreases until thing pick up again. She is also concerned about other habits that may have crept in to the system that do not help with transparency.

Commissioner “B” – Doug Whitney: Doug has some concerns about how the accounting process causes unnecessary financial waste at the county level. He has a number of examples that he explained (he may want to tune these ideas so that the lay person can understand them). His recommendation is to change back to the original zero budget process versus “recapitalization.”

Sheriff – James Tracy: James is pleased with the costs that he has reduced over the past years, and is very proud of the revenue generation that he has developed.

  • Charging prisoners $40.00/day for their “stay”
  • Producing 100,000 lbs of food/year to feed prisoners and Food Bank
  • Created and renewed a contract with ICE (Federal immigration) to house illegals for $72.20/day
  • Has kept costs down by not replacing 25 people

His ongoing crime concerns are petty theft (“smash and grab”) and larceny.

Sheriff – Robin Wall: Robin is very concerned with the amount of money that is being spent in the department. He wants to resolve possible waste AND better use the human resources that they have.

  • If the department makes money, why did the budget move from $20 mil (2003) to $37.5 mil (2009)?
  • Why do we have tactical pontoon boats for “potential assaults at Saratoga Springs?”
  • Why do we have a SWAT team, for this area, that is over 40 members? These men train together too, so that makes even more expense.
  • Why did the Sheriff need to create 3 new positions (“Under Sheriff” and 2 “Chief Deputies”)?
  • With our current resources why don’t we allow prison guards to train for career growth?
  • Can we potentially lease vehicles with less expense?
  • Why is the current Sheriff “never around” for the community meetings?

Recorder – Rod Campbell: Has worked in the office for a number of years and would like to continue to hold the position.

Recorder – Jeff Smith: Has also worked in the recorders office for a number of years and believes that he can bring better “hands-on” experience. His background is in surveying and he is very detail-oriented. The job of Recorder is about being detail-oriented and resolving discrepancies quickly.

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