A controversial petition calling for an election to change Utah County’s form of government failed to gather the required number of signatures to pass, according to an unofficial count by the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s Office.
For a year now, county officials and residents have debated whether to change the county’s form of government from a three-person commission to either a five-person commission or a mayor-city council form.
A citizen petition filed last July called for an election this November to see whether voters would support expanding the Utah County Commission from three full-time commissioners to five part-time commissioners: two elected at-large and three elected in geographic districts.
One of the petition’s five sponsors was Commissioner Bill Lee, who said on Monday that he disliked the mayor-council form of government that counties like Salt Lake have.
“It’s a consolidation of power into one person, which is the mayor,” Lee said. “The mayor has a lot of power. And, to me, that’s problematic.”
But for others, including Commissioner Nathan Ivie, consolidation of power is precisely why the commission form of government needs amending.
“I can attest to the fact that it’s not a personal problem with elected officials,” Ivie said last year. “It’s a structural problem with the form of government we have because we do not have checks and balances in place. We do not have separation of powers.”
Around 4:45 p.m. on Monday, Lee and others brought stacks of signed petitions into the elections division of the clerk/auditor’s office, just 15 minutes before the submission deadline.
A preliminary counting of signatures, which was done by weighing the stacks of paper on a scale, found that 2,939 residents had signed, significantly less than the more than 10,000 signatures needed for the measure to be placed on a ballot in November.
Prior to the counting, Lee said he was aware that they hadn’t gathered enough signatures.
“We want to turn them in (anyway),” Lee said, to show that “there is a great interest in this” and that “people are really hesitant and don’t want to expand government” to a mayor-council form.
Heidi Balderree, a Saratoga Springs resident who sponsored the petition, said she did so “to keep our government limited and fiscally responsible.”
“This seemed like a good compromise to us,” Balderee said, referring to either keeping the form of government the same or expanding to a mayor-city council form. “With the growing needs of our county, this seem(ed) like it wasn’t a step too far.”
Balderree said she and others gathered signatures through meetings, PowerPoint presentations, email campaigns and word of mouth.
Utah County elections director Rozan Mitchell said an official count of the signatures would be done on Tuesday.
Lee was criticized last year for the way and timing of which the petition was filed. It was submitted just an hour before the commission was scheduled to discuss whether a measure to change to a mayor-council form of government should be placed on the ballot in November 2019.
Filing the petition made it so the commission couldn’t move forward with that discussion.
“The timing of this does not feel like (this is) a genuine petition,” Commissioner Tanner Ainge said last July. “I have real questions about whether this is a good faith petition.”
Expanding to a five-member commission goes against the recommendation of an advisory board the commission itself established.
The Good Government Advisory Board, which was formed to conduct research and make recommendations for which form of government would best suit the county, recommended a change to a full-time mayor with seven part-time council members.
When asked about the advisory board’s recommendation, Lee said the board didn’t take into account costs and certain legal matters that he felt needed to be considered.
“They gave us a recommendation, in my opinion, without going through all of the processes that we asked them to accomplish,” said Lee.
What about concerns over a lack of separation of powers in the commission form of government? Lee said they are overblown and that having multiple executives (commissioners) in office is a better balance of power than having just one (a mayor).
“(There’s) a lot of separation in county government,” Lee said, pointing out that the positions like county attorney and chief of police are elected positions as opposed to appointed.
The commission will address potential changes to the county’s form of government in its Tuesday meeting, according to Ainge.
Columbia Care, a global cannabis operator, will open a medical cannabis pharmacy in Springville later this year, pending final regulatory approvals, the company announced Monday.
The company’s announcement comes after the Utah Department of Health awarded the medical cannabis pharmacy licenses to 14 entities across the state last week.
Along with Columbia Care in Springville, two other licenses were awarded in Utah County — Curaleaf in Lindon and Deseret Wellness in Provo.
The UDOH accepted applications from more than 60 businesses before deciding on the 14 entities. The UDOH included a range of criteria such as prior experience in the medical cannabis industry, the ability to ensure safety and security of cardholders, engagement with the local community and an overall strategic plan considered to have a high likelihood of success.
The Springville location will be the 14th market in the United States that Columbia Care has received licenses for.
“Our ability to meaningfully engage with local communities to understand their unmet needs and identify ways in which we can best serve them is a key component to our application process, as Columbia Care aims to operate in markets where it can make a positive difference in the lives of its residents,” said Nicholas Vita, chief executive officer at Columbia Care. “We are delighted to continue to build our national scale in a profitable, capital efficient and shareholder friendly manner.”
The official opening date for the Springville location has not been announced, but the company anticipates it will open by the end of the year.
On Jan. 2, the lieutenant governor’s office, and county clerk offices throughout the state, opened the filing process for candidates running for state and federal government positions who intend to gather signatures to be placed on the June 30 primary election ballot.
As of Monday, 65 candidates in various races — United States House, governor, state House and Senate, treasurer and recorder, among others — had filed an intent to gather signatures.
Signature-gathering is a breakaway from the traditional method for getting on a ballot, which is typically achieved by being nominated at the party’s caucus.
The number of signatures needed to earn a spot on the primary ballot differs depending on the race. U.S. House races require 7,000 signatures while U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races require 28,000 signatures, according to the lieutenant governor’s office. State House and Senate races require 1,000 and 2,000 signatures, respectively.
County office races, such as for a county treasurer, recorder or assessor seat, require 3% of voters permitted to vote in the political party’s primary who live in the district.
Filing an intent to gather signatures is not considered a declaration of candidacy, according to the lieutenant governor’s office, and those gathering signatures must still file a candidacy declaration between March 13 and 19.
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, is among the incumbents who filed an intent to gather signatures. A number of opponents in the race for McAdams’ 4th Congressional District seat also filed to gather signatures, including Republicans Kathleen Anderson, Burgess Owens and Jay McFarland and Democrat Daniel Beckstrand.
Eight political candidates, including seven incumbents, had filed an intent to gather signatures with the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s Office as of Monday, according to county elections director Rozan Mitchell.
Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, whose four-year term on the commission is over at the end of the year, will be gathering signatures during his run for reelection. Ivie will be required to collect 5,550 signatures in order to secure a spot on the ballot.
So far, five candidates for state House seats in Utah County have filed an intent to gather signatures. Among them are Rep. Brady Brammer, who is running for reelection in District 27 and David Shallenberger, who is running in District 48. The others are Rep. Kay Christofferson (District 56), Rep. Jon Hawkins (District 57) and Mike McKell (District 66).
In the state Senate, District 16 Sen. Curt Bramble, who is up for reelection, is one of two candidates who is planning to collect signatures. The other is Utah Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert, who filed an intent to gather signatures in the District 14 race.
James Moss, who is running for District 12 of the state school board, which includes central and northern Utah County, filed his intent to gather signatures.
The popularity of gathering signatures when running for office has grown in the last few years, Mitchell said, although she added she was surprised more candidates in the county hadn’t filed.
“This is a sure path to the primary,” said Mitchell.
Candidates for office have until two weeks before convention to gather the necessary number of signatures and turn them in to the appropriate election officer, according to Mitchell.
Women who serve full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gain quality developmental tools that provide leadership skills in the workplace and other areas of life, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The first-of-its-kind study was released by Susan Madsen, a professor of organizational leadership at Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business. Madsen founded the Utah Women and Leadership Project that released the study on the skills gained by women serving full-time missions.
“I’m a returned missionary and I’ve always been interested in the topic,” Madsen said. “There is a lot of leadership development you can get on a mission.”
She said she has spent nearly two decades looking for more depth on the topic of women in leadership. Madsen said nothing she has seen, or read, clarifies what her team has been able to research on the subject.
Madsen said she expected no more than 200 responses to the survey but was inundated with 687 responses, most of which were detailed.
“It was a huge study,” Madsen said. “I shut it down six weeks early there were so many participants.”
The study focused on three research questions:
– What are the leadership knowledge, skills and abilities women developed throughout the experience of serving?
– How are returned sister missionaries currently using these knowledge, skills and abilities?
– What other missionary experiences or opportunities do these women wish they would have had during their missions?
From the responses, a list of 38 competency categories was created and ranked by percentage of individual respondents who mentioned each.
The top five include public speaking, 40.2%; conflict management, 38.9%; courage, 37.6%; interpersonal skills, 35.3%; and problem solving, 33.5%.
From interpersonal and relationship skills to professional and practical skills, Madsen and her team compiled answers into five major themes.
“For many a mission was the first time respondents had been in close, often intense, relationships outside of their own families, including with their companions, other missionaries, those in their teaching pool, mission leaders, and other members of the church,” the research brief said.
Respondent’s ages ranged over several years with some having served missions decades ago to women who had recently returned.
Kylie Montano served from January 2014 to July 2015 in the Ventura California Mission — the typical 18 month mission length for sisters.
Montano said, for her, it was communication skills that have helped since coming home.
“From my mission I learned how to better communicate with others,” Montano said in a text message. “I learned how to use ‘I feel’ statements rather than ‘you did this’ so customers, spouses and others don’t feel attacked when problems arise.”
She added, “I also learned to really listen to what people are saying and their body language so I know how to better serve them and meet their needs.”
Ann Chumbley Snider, who served more than 30 years ago said, “I learned to use a planner weekly. I learned about companionship inventory and doing that in a marriage. I use the time management skills.”
Chumbley Snider said she still tries to keep the 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. sleep schedule.
“I didn’t grow up with sisters so going on a mission helped me navigate future leadership interactions.”
It has only been within the past decade that sister missionaries have been given more leadership responsibilities in their missions as sister training leaders.
The latest revision of the missionary handbook last year also lists ways sisters can be leaders and, most recently, the ability to be official witnesses at baptisms has added to those responsibilities.
The mission manual from the church states, “Two sisters are assigned to serve in a companionship as sister training leaders in one or more zones. They are responsible for the training and welfare of sister missionaries assigned to them. They also are members of districts and of zones and assist the mission president, zone leaders, and district leaders in training meetings and zone conferences.”
According to Robbyn Scribner, a member of the research team, women in the LDS Church don’t recognize their leadership skills.
“Some of these young women are just beginning to become the adults they are going to be,” Scribner said.
In discussing courage, survey participants reported that their missions had taught them to be brave, bold and assertive and to take risks by leaving their comfort zones.
One respondent said, “I learned it’s better to risk being turned down than to never know where a moment of courage could take me.”
Madsen works on occasion with leadership at the LDS Church’s Salt Lake City headquarters. She is hoping the study will be a useful tool for the church.
“We had a number of responders who said they wished the mission president’s wife had a title,” Madsen said.
Madsen added, “We need women to use their voices, to lead.”
The study showed there was a clear recognition by many that sisters had significantly fewer opportunities for leadership training than did elders, primarily because of less availability of formal leadership roles.
Many participants expressed a desire for more sister-only training, development and conferences.
After reading so many responses, Madsen said one of the important questions is: What can the church do better to provide leadership skills?
“The church seems to be fairly open with change,” Madsen said. “We need more women seeing themselves as leaders.”
Boys are socialized more than girls to be leaders, Madsen said. Young women need to see themselves as leaders and have confidence.
Recommendations from the survey noted that church leaders and other influencers who are invested in developing more women leaders can be more intentional and explicit in framing the numerous competencies missionaries gain as the leadership skills they are.
The survey said that church and mission leaders can carefully and critically consider which missionary roles can be expanded or created to include more formal and informal leadership positions and experience for sister missionaries.
“Unconscious bias workshops and gender trainings can provide mission presidents, area authorities, and their spouses opportunities to strengthen their capacity to provide more intentional, thoughtful and beneficial guidance and development for all missionaries, leaders and members serving within their areas of influence,” the study concludes.
Madsen said there is much more and much deeper information that is yet to be compiled from this project. It will be published later this year.