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Mark Crockett says career path leads to Salt Lake County mayor's office

Published: Sunday, June 17 2012 5:40 p.m. MDT

Crockett was the top vote-getter at the Salt Lake County Republican convention in April, garnering 58 percent of the delegate vote compared with 42 percent for Mike Winder in the second round of voting. Crockett and Winder will meet in a Republican primary June 26, with the winner advancing to the general election to face Democrat Ben McAdams on Nov. 6.

On his campaign website, Crockett has outlined a month-by-month plan for reforming the county budget his first year in office, listing problems with the status quo and proposing solutions.

"I'm very confident about it because I've done it many times before," he said.

Cutting programs to save money often is the initial reaction from organizations in need of a turnaround, Crockett said. That's generally not the right move, he said, and that's especially true with the county.

"The unique role of the county is (taking care of) people we're worried about but haven't given up on yet," such as seniors, at-risk kids and those in drug treatment or mental health programs, he said. "Those are the core basic purposes of the county that no one else can do."

Crockett said the county must focus more on those services rather than borrowing and spending money on non-essential perks like the Real Salt Lake soccer stadium or Salt Lake City's planned Utah Performing Arts Center.

"We've borrowed almost $2 billion in the past eight years through the county," he said. "We just can't keep doing that."

Crockett said the county has manged to keep its operating budget in check during the past eight years while Democrat Peter Corroon has been in office, but he takes issue with the way that was accomplished.

"(The county has been) holding pay down, asking employees to go without," he said. "That's a ticking time bomb. It does not last."

Instead, county employees need to be treated like partners in the process of redesigning programs, along with residents and other stakeholders, Crockett said.

"People on the front lines know the answers," he said. "I don't think we want one smart mayor and nine council members pretending to be as smart as a million residents of Salt Lake County."

During his time on the County Council, Crockett said he opposed or worked to limit bond initiatives on 17 of 19 occasions.

"Mark has been a bona fide conservative," Cullimore said. "If you go back and look at his record when he was on the County Council, he was constantly trying to diminish the impact of bonds and taxes, even taking unpopular stands like opposing the soccer stadium."

The Cottonwood Heights mayor calls Crockett's time on the County Council an "invaluable" experience that gives him "a running start" if elected mayor.

"He'll be stepping into a very challenging situation," Cullimore said, "but he has a real dedication to making the county better."

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

Mark Crockett

Age: 46

Occupation: Managing director of Vici Capital Partners

Politics: Served on the Salt Lake County Council, 2005-08

Education: Bachelors degree in economics from BYU; law degree from Stanford

Family: Wife, Judy; two daughters

Residence: Holladay

Website: www.markcrockett.com

Mike Winder

Age: 36

Occupation: Author; previously worked as vice president of marketing for the family business, Winder Farms

Politics: Mayor of West Valley City, 2010-present; West Valley City councilman, 2006-09.

Education: Bachelor's degree in history and master of business administration from the University of Utah; certificate from executive leadership program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

Family: Wife, Karyn; four children

Residence: West Valley City

Website: www.mikewinder.com

Related article: Mike Winder says future of Salt Lake County more important than his privacy

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