Randy Horiuchi says he may resign his post on the Wasatch Canyons Hospital board of directors when he assumes his duties as Salt Lake County commissioner in January.
The newly elected commissioner said Wednesday he will examine whether his affiliation with the hospital will pose a conflict of interest.Horiuchi also has decided to hire state Rep. Blaze Wharton, D-Salt Lake, as his chief aide in the county. He has asked County Attorney Dave Yocom for an opinion on whether Wharton can be both a top county administrator and a state legislator.
"Hopefully, he's going to do us a lot of good up there (on Capitol Hill)," Horiuchi said about Wharton and the county. "We've targeted some things, some law changes, that we think will make the county a lot of money."
As for his involvement with Wasatch Canyons Hospital, Horiuchi said he has not yet decided whether it would pose a conflict of interest.
"This is the first issue we're discussing in closing down my practice," Horiuchi said. "If there's any discomfort, I'll stop."
The County Commission is responsible for determining whether hospitals within the county qualify for tax-exempt status as charitable hospitals. Wasatch Canyons is owned by Intermountain Health Care and was judged by former county commissioners to be worthy of tax exemption.
Horiuchi, who once lobbied the commission on behalf of Wasatch Canyons, may soon be one of three commissioners deciding whether that hospital should continue to be free from taxes.
Horiuchi also is a lobbyist for several companies and interests. He has lobbied at the state Legislature, city councils and other governments. He said he will end his lobbying practice.