Democrat Art Monson is seeking his fifth four-year term as Salt Lake County treasurer and is being opposed by Republican Robert H. Copier.
Copier, a lawyer and certified public accountant who runs an independent law and CPA firm, claims endorsement for his campaign from the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants and believes the treasurer's office should be run by a CPA."He (Monson) has been in for 16 years and he's trying for 20. From a professional and political perspective, I think you need to have someone new and independent with professional qualifications to take over and take a fresh look at the banks that are receiving county deposits and the investments that are being made."
Monson promotes the stability of his staff size - having the same number of employees as when he took office in 1975 - and said his property tax pre-payment plan demonstrates his commitment to finding new and better ways to serve county residents. The plan allows residents to make monthly property tax installments rather than paying the full amount at the end of each year.
Copier particularly objects to Monson making foreign investments in Korea, Honduras and Zimbabwe - U.S. government-guaranteed loans that are in the county's financial portfolio.
The county investment portfolio also includes significant deposits to two banks that contributed heavily to Monson's re-election campaign.
Of the $75 million the county has in cash investments on record as of Sept. 30, $21.5 million was on deposit with West One Bank and $35 million with First Security Bank. West One has made six contributions to Monson's current campaign totaling $9,500; First Security Service Co. has made four contributions totaling $3,200. That accounts for almost half of Monson's $25,692 campaign fund.
Monson said the two banks are "good citizens that want to be involved in the local community." They contribute heavily in the treasurer's race because "that's where they do their business. They're depending on a good office here so the fairness will continue."
Copier also received $1,000 from First Security, but the much heavier support for Monson is a demonstration of the bank's preference for leadership in the office, Monson said, adding that competition among the banks for the county deposits is based entirely on the interest rate they offer and not influenced by campaign contributions.
Monson says the county's finances are invested much better now than when he took office. "There was $60 million sitting in checking accounts not making money for anybody."
Monson's list of awards include the 1988 Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties; the 1989 Excellence in Local Government Award from the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Elected Officials and Treasurers; Outstanding County Treasurer of the United States from the National Association of County Treasurers and Finance Officers; and Outstanding Elected Official for 1989 from the Utah Association of Counties.
Copier said he has consulted with state and local governments for the international CPA firm of Deloitte & Touche.