On Wednesday December 8, the Utah County Commission voted 2-1 to split the County Clerk/Auditor position from one to two. Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner dissented. The current structure has been in place since 1989 when the Commission decided to move the two offices to one to increase efficiency.
The County population in 1989 was 263,590 compared to today’s growing number of 659,399.
Commissioner Tom Sakievich proposed the split of the two positions because of growing responsibilities due to population growth and the need to have an independent auditing department.
“Today, the demand on Utah County’s clerk and auditor functions are measurably much higher because of population growth. Both the clerk and auditor departments have expressed a need for increased personnel. Both work for one executive. The necessity for each county department executive for increased focus and specialization is increasing,” said Sakievich in a press release issued before the Commission meeting.
“The combined role of County Clerk/Auditor, auditing the internal County Clerk functions and performances is, to me, a conflict of interest,” continued Sakievich.
Commissioner Bill Lee agreed with Sakievich’s proposal and the timing of electing a new county official. Commissioner Powers Gardner (former County Clerk/Auditor) disagreed with the timing and process, but not the idea.
“We have to make sure we set these departments up for success,” said Powers Gardner, asking the Commission to delay the process and work through the split, opposed to approving the split and then working through the process.
Powers Gardner also asked that the split be sent to the voters on the 2022 ballot, but the other Commissioners disagreed.
“With Utah County’s population continuing to skyrocket, I am confident that all county residents will benefit from the special focus that our new clerk and new auditor will provide to these two offices,” said Lee.
Sakievich’s proposal has a price tag of about $175,000 (salary plus benefits) for one additional elected official role of County Auditor. Josh Daniels currently serves as County Clerk/Auditor and is up for re-election in 2022. With this change, both the Auditor and Clerk roles will be added to the upcoming ballot.
Commissioner Powers Gardner disagreed with the changes’ price tag of only $175,000.
“This will cost more. Anytime you grow government, it costs more.”
Now the Commission will work through logistics regarding office space, staffing and how to move forward with the new structure.
The two separate offices will officially begin January 2, 2023.