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Ogden mayor’s top aide, Mark Johnson, to retire; search on for a replacement

By Tim Vandenack - | Apr 27, 2023

SARAH WELLIVER, Standard-Examiner file photo

Mark Johnson, chief administrative officer for Ogden City, speaks during a panel discussion on pending changes to the Good Landlord Program on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, inside the Pleasant Valley Branch library in Ogden.

OGDEN -- The Ogden mayor's right-hand man will be retiring, which has set up the search for a replacement.

Mark Johnson, chief administrative officer under Mayor Mike Caldwell, plans to step down from the post he's held for about 12 years at the end of June. His last planned day is June 30.

"I'm old and ready to retire," said Johnson, 67. "I'm ready to move on."

The chief administrative officer is the top aide to the mayor and has a high-profile role in helping manage and direct city affairs. The city recently posted the job opening and the listing says applications will be accepted until May 9.

Caldwell -- who will be leaving office at the end of his current term, which goes through 2023 -- lauded Johnson, who's worked as a staffer for the city since 2004 and served on the Ogden City Council for two years before that. "He's worked tirelessly for the city," said Caldwell. "I've appreciated everything he has done."

Caldwell and a special committee made up of top city staffers are heading the search for a new administrator. Johnson isn't involved. The mayor hopes to get a new chief administrative officer on board before Johnson's departure so the incumbent can help his replacement ease into the post.

As Caldwell, finishing his third term, isn't running for reelection this cycle, whoever wins the mayoral race in the fall will inherit the new chief administrative officer pick that's made. Seven candidates so far say they will seek the mayoral seat.

That said, it'll be up to the new mayor to decide if he or she wants to retain the aide in their administration. Whoever takes the job will have to factor that potential uncertainty into whether they want the post, Caldwell said. "That's the big question mark," Caldwell said.

Of late, Johnson said, he's noted a "toxic" tone -- sometimes directed his way -- seep into some of the discourse about city affairs. "The lack of civility and personal attacks are sometimes a challenge," he said.

However, he lauded the ability to work with other city employees, who he described as "off the charts," and his role as city administrator in helping bring financial stability to Ogden and in spurring the "staggering" level of growth the city has seen in the last 20 or so years.

Before becoming chief administrative officer in mid-2011 at the end of the administration of former Mayor Matthew Godfrey, about six months before Caldwell was sworn in, Johnson served as management services director for Ogden. He worked at MarketStar and in banking before that.

The listed pay for the chief administrative officer is $133,020.55-$199,530.82, depending on qualifications. The mayor ultimately makes the selection, with the advice and consent of the City Council.

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