The Davis County Republican Party and county elected officials are denying allegations that the position of interim county clerk has been promised to Commissioner Glen Saunders.
"There have been no promises made as such, no definitive promises," Saunders said.He said his fellow county commissioners have privately indicated their support.
"But I am not going to formally seek their support until I see what the support is at the county convention," said Saunders.
Clerk Michael Allphin announced last week he is resigning May 31 to accept a job with the state court system. At the same time, Saunders announced his withdrawal from the four-year county commission race and threw his support behind fellow GOP candidate Gayle Stevenson.
State law provides for an interim county clerk to be appointed by the county commission from among three nominees selected by the Republican Party, the party with which Allphin is affiliated.
The appointee would serve until the November election when voters will choose someone to serve the remaining two years on Allphin's four-year term. County residents have until Thursday to file for the clerk's post.
Friday afternoon, Saunders filed as a candidate for the county clerk position. He is expected this weekend to officially notify Davis GOP Chairman Steve Smoot of his intent to also go after the interim clerk appointment.
Smoot has said he expects Saunders' name to be one of the three sent to commissioners. Smoot said it is the County Commission and not the GOP that makes the decision.
"Really, there's nothing we have a say on other than submitting some names," Smoot said.
Saunders said if his name is among the three sent to the commission, he'll excuse himself from the vote on the appointment. He said also he will ask his fellow commissioners to delay making the appointment until after the county GOP convention May 21 to make sure the selection of Saunders has broad-based support.
The commissioner denied he timed his withdrawal from the commission race to thwart other possible candidates.
Dee Tingey, Davis County chairman of the Utah Tax Limitation Coalition, is unconvinced.
"We think it was all timed, and the whole thing all set long before it was announced," Tingey said. "I don't think they would pick anybody else (but Saunders) out of the three names."
Saunders said he didn't know for sure that Allphin was going to resign until late last week, one week after the filing deadline for the commission office.
Davis Democratic Chairman Rosemary Wall said, "Yes, we heard it, that Glen Saunders will be appointed county clerk."
Asked what she thought of the possibility the clerk appointment has already been decided, Wall said, "They can do what they want to, but in November the people will decide who the clerk will be."