With no one choosing to file against him in his bid for a second term, Commissioner Brent Morris will glide unopposed toward re-election this fall. Fellow Commissioner Gary Anderson, however, won't be so lucky.
Anderson will face two challengers from his own Republican Party as well as two hopefuls from the Democratic Party in his bid for a two-year term.Brent Morris, who will finish a two-year term this year, is running for a four-year seat. The seat held by Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck will be up for election in 1990.
"I'm surprised and, of course, I'm grateful," Morris said of not having to face a re-election campaign.
"This will save me a lot of effort that I can devote to my work as commisisoner. The only thing I can say to the citizens is that I will use the same dedication and will work as hard during the next term as I did during the last year and a half. I won't slack off."
County Auditor J. Bruce Peacock and Treasurer Leonard Ellis both appointed last year to fill unexpired terms join Morris in running unopposed this fall.
Gary Anderson, a commissioner since 1982, faces Republicans Sid Sandberg from Provo and Rex L. Behling from Spring Lake, and Democrats Gene Faux from Springville and Glen Hawkins from Benjamin.
Anderson said he is seeking re-election because he has enjoyed his tenure as commissioner and feels he has the experience to handle future challenges that may face the county. He said he is proud of his efforts to promote needed construction projects throughout the county the past six years, while keeping taxes down.
"Taxes are going to stay low as long as I'm around, and I think the other commissioners feel the same," said Anderson, a Springville resident. "The record speaks for itself."
Besides "virtually eliminating flooding in Utah County," Anderson said, the commission since 1982 has improved governmental efficiency. And while the number of county employees has dropped the past six years, county services are up, he said.
"I think I have the professionalism, intelligence and background, and the nerve, guts and fortitude to hold the line and do the right things for the right reasons," Anderson said. "I think I have another term in me."
Hopefuls running against Anderson, however, say it's time for some new blood in the commission.
By filing against Anderson, Sid Sandberg breaks with a gentleman's agreement that only south Utah County residents would seek Anderson's seat. Morris holds the central county seat, while Beck holds the north county seat.
"It (the agreement) has not been universally adhered to in the past," Sandberg said. "I think citizens of Utah County are more concerned with good government than they are with geographic government."
Sandberg, an attorney involved with commercial finance, is a voting precinct chairman. He also has worked as a commissioner on the Provo Housing Authority.
"I think my primary motivation (in running) is to give the Republican Party a choice regarding the two-year-term commissioner," he said. "Republican voters need to have a candidate that can win in November."
Rex L. Behling, a Spring Lake resident for 29 years, said the commission is in dire need of broader county representation.
"One of the biggest reasons why I'm running is that I don't feel people living in unincorporated areas have a voice on the County Commission. I want to see representation from the south end, rather than just the Provo area."
Behling owns and managers his own insurance agency and farm, and said his business experience will help him be an effective commissioner.
"I'm well-qualified for the position," he said. " I've had 30 years management experience between my insurance agency and the other jobs I've held."
Gene Faux also feels the county needs better representation, especially from the Democratic Party. Faux ran against Anderson in 1982 as a fellow Republican, but is now running as a Democrat "because I feel there is a need for checks and balances."
"Basically, I feel like there needs to be some balance in the political arena here," he said. "We have a strong Republican machine and no opposition. That lends itself to abuse of power."
Examples, he said, include the hiking of commissioner salaries by the commissioners themselves during Anderson's second term and the alleged misuse of funds at Timpanogos Mental Health Center, which is overseen by a tri-county board.
"To have a high income in a public office doesn't make sense to me," said Faux, a self-employed commercial printer who has a master's degree in public administration.
"The main thing is to get back to a balance and have representation from a broad section," he said. "With a one-party system we set ourselves up for a lot of abuse."
Glen Hawkins also feels it's time the commission had representation from the Democractic Party.
"To keep balance in the commission, it would be good to have a Democrat in there," he said. "It's been a long while."
Hawkins, a retired Geneva Steel worker who now farms part time, said he has the time needed to do the job. He has been a state delegate from Benjamin for 20 years and has served on the Strawberry Water Board.
"I feel I have something to offer," he said, including the ability to attract new industry to the county and help existing industry. Hawkins calls himself a conservative Democrat committed to keeping spending down.
As for auditor and treasurer, the county will see more of the same two men over the next four years.
"Both Leonard and I are the new kids on the block. I thought for sure someone would take some shots at us," Peacock said.
Peacock, a certified public accountant from Orem, was appointed auditor last December to replace the unexpired term of Elwood L. Sundberg, who retired after 21 years. Ellis was appointed last August to replace Stan Walker, who served for 121/2 years.
Peacock and Ellis said they have enjoyed their brief stints with the county and that their experience since being appointed has prepared them for future service.