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West Valley Mayor Mike Winder will not seek second term

Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 4:10 p.m. MDT

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, listens during a press conference Monday, May 20, 2013 to discuss detailed information on the Susan Powell investigation.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

WEST VALLEY CITY — Mayor Mike Winder says the need to find a full-time job to support his family — not recent scandals in the city — drove his decision to not seek re-election this fall.

"In our form of government, it's a part-time mayor, but it's not very part-time at all, of course, because there's daily demands," the first-term mayor said Wednesday.

Winder, who does freelance marketing consulting work, earns $35,000 a year as mayor of the state's second largest city.

"As the breadwinner of my family, it makes it tough to raise a family of four on," said Winder, a 37-year-old married father of two boys and two girls ages 14 to 5.

Winder plans to serve until his term expires in January 2014.

Recently revealed problems in the West Valley City Police Department and his use of a fictitious name for several newspaper articles he wrote two years ago were not factors in his decision, the mayor said.

Winder said he has done some voter canvassing that shows he would have likely won re-election, and he believes the pen name situation is behind him.

"For people who don't like me, it's an easy thing for people to pull out against me," he said. "Most people understand my intentions were well-meaning. It was my love for my city that got the best of me."

Winder made headlines in 2011 when he admitted he wrote news stories about West Valley City for the Oquirrh Times and the Deseret News under the name Richard Burwash. Fallout from the incident led to his resignation as director of public affairs for The Summit Group and prompted his City Council colleagues to reprimand him.

The police department has been under scrutiny during its prolonged investigation into Susan Powell's disappearance in 2009, Winder's first year in office. More recently, the fatal officer-involved shooting of 21-year-old Danielle Willard and problems within police force's Neighborhood Narcotics Unit have cast a shadow over the city.

Winder also has served during a major overhaul of the Valley Fair Mall, including 300,000 new square feet of retail space. A light-rail line also made its way to West Valley during his administration, and the city continues to push economic development.

All of that adds up to a demanding job that Winder noted in a news release pays about one-third of what mayors in Salt Lake City, Provo and Sandy make.

“Public service is always a sacrifice for a family, and in our city’s council-manager form of government, it is especially difficult to serve as mayor,” Winder said. “Although the pay is part-time, the duties of the job of mayor have daily demands that make other employment very difficult.”

Winder said his consulting work has been "hit or miss."

Prior to being mayor, Winder served one term on the City Council and four years as the city’s business development manager. He ran for Salt Lake County mayor in 2012, losing in the primary election.

Winder said he intends to remain involved with city after leaving office.

“I look forward to many more years of continued community service in various capacities," he said.

Former West Valley City Council member Margaret K. Peterson announced her candidacy for mayor earlier this month. The candidate filing period for municipal offices is June 1-7.

Contributing: Pat Reavy

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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