Davis County politics took a surprise twist Monday, even before residents had a chance to attend party caucuses.
County Clerk Michael Allphin announced his resignation following Monday afternoon's County Commission meeting, and incumbent Commissioner Glen E. Saunders announced that he intends to seek the clerk's post rather than another four-year commission term.Meanwhile, another County Commission candidate withdrew from the race. Margaret Brough, Kaysville, who filed on the Republican ticket for the two-year seat held by incumbent Harold J. Tippetts, also notified the elections clerk Monday that she has withdrawn from the race. The withdrawals are unrelated.
Saunders, Clinton, was one of three Republicans who filed for the four-year commission race. He said Monday he would support Gayle A. Stevenson, a former associate superintendent of schools from Layton.
Allphin and County GOP Party Chairman Steve Smoot will accept applications on behalf of the Central Committee for the clerk's job through May 5. A meeting of the party's central committee will then be called to pare the applications to three names, which will be submitted to the County Commission. The commissioners pick a replacement from the list.
A special filing period for the clerk's office will begin April 29 and run through May 5 at 5 p.m. People from either party, or independents, may file. The winner in the November election will serve the remaining two years of Allphin's term beginning Jan. 1.
Saunders said he will likely submit his name to the central committee for consideration to be appointed to Allphin's post for the rest of the year and will seek the remaining two years by filing for formal election. Ironically, he serves on the body that picks the interim clerk.
Allphin, a Republican, is leaving the county post to take a state position as district court administrator. Effective Jan. 1, 1989, the state will assume management and control of a major portion of the district court system. As county clerk, Allphin has been involved with managing court activities at the county level.
Saunders said his decision to quit the commission race stems from a commitment he made to his family in 1986 that he would not seek re-election this year. He said his current calling in the LDS Church has created some time challenges as well. Saunders said he filed this year after he was urged to do so by party members and associates in county government. He said he still has much to offer to county government but believes this can be accomplished through service in another post.
Saunders said he expressed his feelings to Smoot six weeks ago. He said the events of the past few days were unexpected and unfolded much differently than he anticipated.
Smoot said he thinks Saunders, with his eight years of experience as a county commissioner, will make a good county clerk.
"He has a good working knowledge of the job, what the office entails, and is well-liked around the courthouse and has a good relationship with the employees there," said Smoot.
Of the remaining GOP candidates for Saunders' seat, Merle Hildreth and Stevenson, Smoot said he considers Stevenson to be the front-runner because of his more visible experience as a school district administrator.
"Gayle Stevenson is an excellent administrator, he demonstrated that as the assistant superintendent of the school district and is well liked and well- known across the county," Smoot said.
But, until the delegates to the county convention meet in May and vote for their choice, Smoot said, he will not publicly endorse either candidate.