With none of the sparks that marked previous discussions of the Salt Palace Fine Arts Advisory Board, The Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed Mayor Palmer DePaulis' three appointees to the tri-government board.
Former City Councilman Grant Mabey, arts advocate Marcia Poulsen Price and attorney Anthony Rampton were approved Tuesday night, two months after the council rejected DePaulis' original board appointments.The advisory board was set up under an agreement with Salt Lake County and the state of Utah to co-administer fine arts facilities at the complex. The three would also contribute up to $325,000 to the county-owned Salt Palace.
In August, the council rejected DePaulis' appointees, including Rampton and Price. The council's conservative majority voting bloc, the Gang of Four, turned down the appointments because they weren't "geographically balanced."
DePaulis' original appointees were all from District 3 in Councilwoman Sydney Fonnesbeck's district. This time, the council supported Price and Rampton while DePaulis appointed Mabey as a "compromise" candidate.
The appointments still mean that two members, Price and Rampton, are from District 3, while Mabey hails from District 2.
Councilman W.M. "Willie" Stoler, who led the effort to defeat DePaulis' nominations to the board in August, said Tuesday DePaulis has "gotten the message."
"I think he understands we want as much geographic balance as possible," he said.
DePaulis, however, called the selection differently.
"I see it as just a compromise. I didn't see it as addressing those other issues," he said. "If you take the whole group of appointments I've made as mayor . . . my appointments have been geographically balanced," he added.
In August, DePaulis pointed to statistics showing recent appointments to District 3 have declined when compared with other districts. Nevertheless, more District 3 residents sit on city boards than residents from other districts, according to those same statistics.
The mayor had expressed a sense of urgency in appointing members to the board but said he saw "no problem" with the city remaining unrepresented until now.
The board met Tuesday with representatives from the county and state and Rampton, at the time not yet approved by the council, DePaulis said.
The Salt Palace board will advise the Salt Lake County Commission on policy for arts-related operations at the complex, which include Symphony Hall, the Arts Center and the Capitol Theater.
Mabey represented the city's District 2 until 1987, when he chose not to run and was replaced by Councilman Wayne Horrocks. Mabey served on the Salt Palace expansion committee in 1982 when convention facilities were added to the complex.
Price heads the Utah Arts Council and is trustee to the Western States Art Federation and is past president of the Salt Lake Art Center.
Rampton is an attorney with the Salt Lake law firm of Fabian & Clendenin, a director of the Utah Arts Council and past vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Salt Palace Task Force.