Ex-Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner to run for mayor, cites experience
OGDEN — Former Ogden police chief, state senator and Ogden-Hinckley Airport manager Jon Greiner is hoping to return to public service.
He retired in 2019 as airport manager but has joined the contingent running for mayor of Ogden, citing the experience he’s gleaned in his varied roles.
“I’m kind of tired of being retired. I have a lot of things I can offer to the city,” he said. “I have a lot of experience with the city and know how it runs and how budgeting works.”
Greiner served as chief of police in Ogden from 1995 through the end of 2011, when he left the post after he was deemed to have violated the federal Hatch Act, according to earlier Standard-Examiner reporting. He served in the Utah Senate from 2007 through 2010 and managed the airport from 2013 through early 2019.
He worked for more than 40 years for the city of Ogden, he said, including 30 years of that in supervisory or management roles, “so I have a pretty good idea of how the city works.” Likewise, Greiner says his experience lends itself to what he sees as some of the key mayoral roles — acting as a cheerleader for the city, working to retain and recruit businesses and helping business operations thrive.
Mike Caldwell is finishing his third term as mayor but isn’t running again. Five others have publicly said they’re running for the top city post, Oscar Mata, Ben Nadolski, Chris Barragan, Angel Castillo and Taylor Knuth. Greiner becomes the sixth, though the formal period to file to run for the post doesn’t start until June.
Among some of the bigger issues facing the city, Greiner said, are implementing major upgrades to key city facilities, like the Marshall White Center — actually to be replaced — and Union Station. He lauded efforts of vocal citizens groups to push the projects up the city’s priority list.
The city is in the process of implementing a series of major upgrades in and around the city center outlined in the Make Ogden plan, which include improvements to Union Station, and he said he favors the initiative. He also favors moves to create a community reinvestment area encompassing the airport, which would enable use of tax funds to cover the cost of some improvements and, officials hope, spur private investment.
But his interests don’t stop with the higher-profile projects that typically draw a lot of attention.
“I am primarily concerned with improving the quality of the city. We have an old city, aging infrastructure,” he said, noting, in particular, Ogden’s sewer system.
Crafting a city spending proposal is also a major function of the mayor each year and Greiner said he’s in “a unique position” to help in that regard given his years running the Ogden police department and as a Utah senator.
Greiner’s term in the Utah Senate was marked by controversy over charges that his simultaneous roles as state lawmaker and Ogden police chief violated the federal Hatch Act. Ultimately, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board in December 2011 upheld a 2010 decision that he violated the act because he signed off on a half-dozen federal grants worth more than $1 million and already in place during his successful 2006 Senate campaign, according to prior Standard-Examiner reporting.
He didn’t seek a second term in the Senate in light of the controversy and left the police department at the end of 2011 after the Merit Systems Protection Board determination rather than force the city to forfeit $215,000 in grant funds.
He noted the law was changed in 2012, easing some of the restrictions for state and local employees running for office.