Gov. Norm Bangerter's second term will feature fewer ribbon cuttings and more attention to issues through "kitchen cabinets" made up of experts, according to his outgoing chief of staff.
Reed Searle, who was appointed chief of staff midway through Bangerter's first term and has decided to resign, said Wednesday the governor will organize several cabinets to study a variety of issues. The cabinets will meet regularly with him to give advice on what problems exist and on what action the state should take.The governor's staff also will be reorganized to give Bangerter more direct control over departments, Searle said.
"In terms of his being governor, you'll see less participation in ceremonial activities," Searle said about Bangerter. "During the first term, every time someone called and wanted him to come to a ribbon cutting he would go."
Bangerter was in St. George on Wednesday, where he has been since he came from behind to narrowly defeat Democrat Ted Wilson in last week's election. Searle, who appears to be leaving the administration on friendly terms and despite the wishes of the governor, was with Bangerter earlier this week planning for the second term.
Bangerter is expected to return to Salt Lake City on Thursday and to meet with reporters Friday morning.
So far, Bangerter's second term looks as if it may be less stressful than the first. Preliminary reports from state budget officials show the state is collecting more sales and income taxes than anticipated.
The governor was plagued by a faltering economy during his first four years in office. As a result, he persuaded lawmakers to raise taxes in 1986, only to give tax rebates in 1988 after the state accumulated a $110 million surplus.
Searle said he expects the governor to form cabinets to cover education, business, water and natural resources issues. He said water, education and insurance issues will be among the administration's top priorities during the next four years.
The cabinets will not be task forces or committees, Searle said. "They will be groups that sit down to advise him (Bangerter) personally."
The cabinets will help Bangerter have a better idea what the state's problems are, Searle said.
Because Bangerter is planning to take more direct leadership of departments, he may make personnel changes to ensure that the state's department directors are strong enough to make decisions on their own, Searle said.
Department directors have in the past complained about not being able to see Bangerter as often as they would like.