The race for a four-year term on the Davis County Commission pits a longtime Republican and well-known retired educator against the chairman of the county's Libertarian Party.
Gerald Purdy, a retired high school teacher and administrator, is the Republican nominee for the B seat. He's facing Libertarian Chairman Larry Livingston, an accountant.Purdy retired this year as assistant principal at Davis High School in his hometown of Kaysville, where he also served two terms as mayor and three terms on the city council.
Livingston ran unsuccessfully in the last election for a term on the city council in Clearfield, his hometown, and is now making a run at a county government post.
"I'm running because I'm concerned about the way some aspects of county government have been handled,"
said Livingston, pointing out specifically the upcoming consolidation of the county clerk and auditor's offices.
"Those offices shouldn't have been combined without a public vote," Livingston said. "The offices have very different functions.
"I'm sure Mrs. Isom (Margene Isom, incumbent clerk and the only candidate for the new combined office) is excellent as clerk, but I question her abilities in auditing," said Livingston.
As an accountant, Livingston said he knows the value of financial audits and accurate records.
Livingston said as a Libertarian he believes in the philosophy of less government, but said he's not a "radical Libertarian" and does not espouse some of the party's proposals, such as dismantling the public school system.
"There are some legitimate government functions, things that the government should do, such as roads and streets, that can't be done through privatization," said Livingston.
"But I question some other county government functions. Golf courses. Why should the county be in the golf course business?" he asked, referring to the two county-operated courses.
Livingston also said the GOP's 30-year dominance of Davis County government needs to end. The county, he believes, is suffering from a lack of diversity.
Livingston has also attacked Purdy's background in education, saying county residents are tired of education getting the lion's share of tax money and other county resources.
Purdy said he's heard that his opponent is using the term "educator" in a derogatory, critical way but said he's proud of his 35 years as a teacher, administrator, and coach in the county school system.
"Larry's been doing that all along in the campaign. He's got something in his craw against education and I don't know what it is," said Purdy.
"I wouldn't trade my career experiences and what it taught me for anything," said Purdy. "It was invaluable.
"Between that and my experience in serving in the Kaysville city government, I think it shows that I can deal with diverse elements, with different interests, and build a consensus."
Purdy said the county needs a commission that can restore confidence in its ability to govern and that county employees, suffering from low morale in the last two years, need to be boosted.
Although dissension has cooled off in the last six months, the commission was marked for the last two years by name-calling, bickering, and heated arguments during meetings.
"Those things need to come to an end. The commissioners have to work together, build a consensus, and go forward on the issues," said Purdy. "I believe my background in city government shows that I can do that."
Purdy said residents have expressed concerns about taxes, and rightly so.
"No one likes taxes. We need to keep a handle on them. My record in Kaysville shows that can be done. We need to keep our priorities in line, set a budget, and then live within it," he said.