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Ben McAdams restructures county public works department, names Taylorsville mayor as director

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 11:51 p.m. MDT

Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall (, Deseret News) Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall (, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor-elect Ben McAdams on Thursday announced a restructuring of the public works department, the first step in his push to clarify the county's services while reaching out to unincorporated communities.

McAdams has re-christened the office as the Department of Public Works and Regional Development, which he hopes will increase clarity and efficiency regarding the department's responsibilities to unincorporated areas and the county as a whole.

Part of Thursday's announcement included the introduction of Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall as director of the reconfigured department, pending approval from the Salt Lake County Council on Jan. 8. Wall steps in as a prominent "west-side Republican," McAdams said, backing up campaign promises of bipartisan cooperation.

Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall speaks during a news conference supporting Ben McAdams' bid for Salt Lake County mayor in Murray on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. McAdams won the election and has appointed Wall as director of the Salt Lake County Department of Public Works and Regional Development. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall speaks during a news conference supporting Ben McAdams' bid for Salt Lake County mayor in Murray on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. McAdams won the election and has appointed Wall as director of the Salt Lake County Department of Public Works and Regional Development. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Wall is leaving in his second term as Taylorsville mayor, having served seven years. He also served four years on the City Council.

The Taylorsville City Council will convene at 5 p.m. Friday to arrange public notice and schedule meetings to fill the midterm vacancy.

Patrick Leary, the current public works director under Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, will take on the newly created role of township executive, focusing exclusively on unincorporated areas of the county. The post represents a current staff position, with with a new name and some changed responsibilities.

Leary was appointed public works director in April 2011, leaving the role of associate director of administrative services.

McAdams said the need for improvement became apparent as he listened to concerns voiced in the recent debate over proposed incorporation for Millcreek township, which failed in the November election. 

"The voters spoke loud and clear with their vote," he said. "But there were some legitimate concerns raised by the supporters of incorporation, and I'm trying to listen to those concerns and respond by giving them a greater degree of representation." 

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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