Orem has been getting quality mayors at discount prices, but the sale may end soon.
The City Council on Tuesday discussed the possibility of turning the part-time position into a higher-paying full-time job."The citizens of Orem over the last 20 years have been spoiled by their mayors," said DeLance Squire, director of the Commission for Economic Development in Orem and a former city mayor. "Very few citizens realize the number of hours Orem's mayor must put in."
Mayor Blaine Willes said he raised the issue because most people who would be interested in being mayor could not survive on a part-time income. Because of the unpredictable schedule of meetings a mayor needs to attend and phone calls that must be taken, the mayor's other job would have to be very flexible.
And even if a qualified candidate with a flexible job could be found, there would not be enough hours left in the day to represent Orem to its best advantage, he said.
"I believe we're at a competitive disadvantage to deal with everything that comes down the pike," Willes said. "Our city is bigger and trying to achieve more than it has in its history."
Councilman Norman Woodhouse agreed.
"Orem no longer has a population of 35,000," he said. "It is nearing 70,000. The work that needs to be done is monumental. I don't think the job can be done by a part-time mayor."
Councilman Kelvin Clayton opposed the idea, saying he does not feel good about spending more tax money when there still are dedicated people who would do the job for part-time money.
"This is a service position and we've done quite well as a city with that type of service-oriented person (who will accept the job). I would hate to see us get away from people who want to serve and start attracting people who just wanted a job."
Woodhouse said the character of the person elected mayor will determine the quality of work that person does. The full-time position simply would allow the mayor to spend more time advancing the interests of Orem.
If the council decides on a full-time mayor, Orem's form of government would not have to change, City Manager Daryl Berlin said. Everyone would keep the same duties he has now, but the mayor would have time