The November election is story number two. 2010 will likely be a pivotal year for politics in Morgan County. Four of the seven seats on the council were up for election. A fifth seat changed due to the resignation of Rodney Haslam.
Beginning next week there will be three new members of the Morgan County Council. Ned Mecham, Lyle Nelson, and Robert Kilmer. There will only be two members of the council that have served for more than seven months. Ronda Kippen has only served for about two months. Going into 2011, the council will have fewest experienced council members it has seen for many years. Only Members Tina Kelley and Howard Hansen will have significant background on the procedures of the council, the assignments to be made, and past decisions.
There will also be a new council chairperson. When the council meets on the fourth of January one of the first items of business will be appointing a new chairperson. This individual has, in the past, been the spokesperson for the council. The chairperson also manages the agenda for the council. The chair cannot make motions, or second motions, but they have, in the past, used the bully pulpit of this office to good effect. Member Kelley has been vice chair of the council, has the most experience, and is a logical choice, but any member can be chosen for the position.
The elections in 2010 were eventful. The only race in which a primary was needed was that between Robert Kilmer, Larry Hatch, and Amy Clark. Clark came in third in the primary election by only five votes. Hatch ended up winning the election, but conceded the election to Kilmer before the official vote was announced. Many voters were upset with Hatch for taking the decision from them. If Hatch had chosen to withdraw before the primary the race would have been between Clark and Kilmer.
The situation with Garth Day began to be an issue towards the end of the race and candidates were outspoken about the existing council’s decisions and actions. For about a month calls for resignations and shouts from those assembled to attend the council meeting were common. In the end, the furor died down and the current council left the decisions about how to proceed with the council administrator position to the incoming council.
The changes coming in 2011 from elections in 2010 could have significant impact on the county. Candidates have discussed potential changes in the county government. The issue of county administrator will be decided. The appeal process in the county will likely be addressed. Certainly decisions about zoning and the future development in the county will be faced. With the number of new faces on the county the one thing that seems certain is change.
The race for Utah House seat district 53 was also a race to watch. A newcomer on the political scene, Jon Hellander, gave Mel Brown a good run. Hellander did well enough at the convention to win through to the primary, but Brown held on in the primary and went on to win and remain the representative.
With the elections over the process of governing begins. Those elected will now turn from running campaigns to making decisions for those who elected them. Given the issues, the strong personalities, and the many opinions that emerged in the election process, the county council will likely continue to be a good source of news in the coming year