OGDEN — The race for the Weber County commission spot that’s coming open is the marquee county race this cycle.
It’s the highest-profile county contest on the ballot, anyway.
Republican Jim Harvey, the incumbent in seat C, the post up for grabs, is seeking his second term, challenged by Democrat Alex McDonald. The other commission seats held by Scott Jenkins and Gage Froerer, who are also Republicans, aren’t on the ballot this cycle.
On his campaign website, Harvey touted some of the commission’s accomplishments during his tenure. Since joining the body in 2017 the commission “eliminated the self-serving retirement golden parachute for elected officials and lowered the Weber County general tax rate in all 15 cities.” He cites libraries, education and economic growth as priority concerns, but also notes the importance of “healthy communication and trust” in addressing the issues.
McDonald, retired from a job with a nonprofit organization that helps with organ donation, touted what he said would be his ability to focus on the job.
“I am now retired, have no outside business interests and will not be distracted or influenced by other obligations. I will be representing every constituency throughout Weber County,” he said on his campaign website. Though the commission post is regarded as a full-time job, the three incumbent commissioners have interests in other businesses.
The only other contested county race is for the Weber County recorder post. Republican incumbent Leann Kilts of Plain City, seeking her second term, faces a challenge from Samuel Leake of North Ogden.
“She has 38 years of recorder experience and five years managing a surveyor department,” Kilts’ campaign Facebook page reads. “She will strive to protect, preserve and present official documents and is committed to Weber County!”
Leake, a student at Weber State University, is running “to ensure that values of transparency and integrity are at the forefront of the office,” reads a statement about him from the Weber County Democratic Party website.
County Assessor John Ulibarri and County Treasurer John Bond are uncontested in their bids for reelection. Democrat Joshua Pope had filed in the treasurer’s race but later withdrew his candidacy.
Similarly, five county posts on the ballot in Davis County are all uncontested. The incumbents, County Commissioner Randy Elliott, County Assessor Dale Peterson, County Recorder Richard Maughan, County Surveyor Max Elliott and County Treasurer Mark Altom, all Republicans, are running unopposed.
‘WE CAN DO BETTER!’Seat C on the Weber County Commission is an at-large post, meaning all voters in the county may vote in the race.
Harvey managed the county-owned Gold Spike Event Center for many years before running for and winning the commission post in 2016. The elimination of the “golden parachute” he references in his literature was the controversial perk allowing outgoing elected county officials to get a payout on leaving office that reached $66,000 for some. Created in 2014, just six officials benefitted from the policy before its elimination, collecting $366,564.28 between them.
The property tax reduction affecting residents in the county’s 15 locales, totaling around $500,000, was offset by an increase for residents of unincorporated Weber County that collectively boosted their taxes by around $364,000.
Aside from specific policy actions, Harvey touted his leadership style.
“He believes in a management style that empowers people to grow and improve, so much so that they could eventually lead on their own,” reads his website. “This builds trust and improves performance and efficiency in them. Under Jim’s leadership, the employees now enjoy a higher job satisfaction.”
McDonald said he would put a big focus on bringing higher-paying jobs to Weber County, promoting technical education and encouraging development of affordable housing.
“With all Weber County has to offer, highway and rail transportation, access to Hill Air Force Base, Business Depot Ogden, Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College and world-class recreation, we can do better!” his website reads.
The Weber County League of Women Voters is planning on holding a virtual candidate forum feature Harvey and McDonald on Oct. 15.
Ballots are to be mailed to voters in October and voting culminates Nov. 3, 2020.