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Council considers scrapping form of government

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The Morgan County Council voted to keep their same chairman and vice chairman this year, but only after a discussion about the difficulties of serving on the council, the need for a council administrator and the possibility of changing the county’s form of government.
Logan Wilde will stay on as chairman while Ned Mecham will continue as vice chairman.
“I don’t mind doing it, but I am not a good administrator. I don’t mind doing the legislative part, but I suck as the administrator,” Wilde said.
“I want to go on the record saying it is really difficult to meet the responsibilities of a county and still have a job outside of it,” said Councilwoman Tina Cannon. Serving on the council “is a strain on the family.”
“We all work. We are all putting in 40 hours and then trying to do what we can here,” Wilde said. “I don’t see any of us having the time” to improve the administration of the county. “I have found we just put things off as a council. Things keep piling up. We are making too many mistakes. We keep putting things on the shelf. We need someone to do something about it and take it off the shelf. We owe it to Morgan County.”
“Maybe a council secretary will eliminate some of the stress,” Councilman John Barber said.
The county posted an administrative secretary position open until Jan. 23. Already, there has been some interest expressed, Wilde said. The position will also include payroll clerk and human resource duties. The hired applicant would report to the council chair, or in this case, Wilde, while providing administrative and secretarial support for the county council for between $17.45 and $24 an hour full-time. A bachelor’s degree is required while a master’s degree is preferred.
Many on the council have been hesitant to hire a “council administrator” after the malfeasance of Garth Day from 2008 to 2010. The new position, therefore, is being called a “council administrative secretary” instead, to stress that the council is in ultimate control.
While a secretary may help the seven-member council, they are fully aware that the help of the state is limited since Morgan County is one of only two counties in the state with a seven-member council. This form of government is no longer accepted in Utah, and Morgan and Grand Counties were grandfathered in. Grand County, the only other county with a seven-member council in Utah, has a council administrator that manages the day-to-day affairs of the county.
“Every time we have a hiccup, we don’t have any direction, Wilde said.
“Too many times, the state says, ‘We are not getting involved. You are your own thing,’ when we are just trying to get direction,” Councilman Robert Kilmer said.
Wilde suggested that Tina Kelley, former council chairwoman, head a committee to explore the possibility of changing Morgan’s form of government. He said a committee of residents—and not council members—should be formed to issue recommendations and perhaps pursue a feasibility study.
“We need to modify this council or change this form of government,” Wilde said. “I know that may be hard for some.
Wilde expects the committee to explore leaving the form of government the way it is, increasing the current council’s salary, or scrapping the county’s form of government entirely in order to embrace something “more in line with state recommendations.”
“I think it is a good idea,” Mecham said.

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