Any time there’s a change in county government, state code requires that the people are given the opportunity to vote.
Officer for “Pick Proposition 9” and mayor of Cedar Hills, Jenney Ress, explains, “It’s not adding any new department or any new levels of bureaucracy. It’s simply taking the existing powers that are held by three individuals and splitting those between an executive branch and legislative branch.”
Currently the county government uses a three-commissioner model to govern the entire Utah County.
Ress continues, “When we have three people who are expected to represent 650,000 people with a county as diverse as ours, it really becomes challenging for them to truly understand the needs.”
Prop 9 suggests a change in the county government to an executive council form of government. This change allows the people to elect one council member from each district to be a part of the legislative county council.
Not everyone supports the new changes.
Lisa Shepherd is the campaign coordinator for “No Prop 9.” Shepherd explains, “I believe it actually creates a consolidation of power versus a distribution of power.”
The current county government gives all the executive and legislative powers to the three county commissioners.
Ress says, “More representation at the legislative branch, and also separating the legislative and executive powers, which then creates checks and balances that don’t currently exist.”
Prop 9 would give one council member all the executive power, and the other five council members would share the legislative power.
Shepherd argues, “We already have the separation of powers between the policing and between the law making.”
Recent conflicts with former commissioners has brought concern with the structure of the county government.
“When you have elected officials that don’t see eye to eye,” Shepherd states, “we don’t change the form of government — you change the elected officials.”
For Utah County residents, the decisions come down to your vote.