The Orem City Council on Tuesday decided "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The council ended its third discussion on making the mayor's position a full-time post by voting to "officially drop the issue." The change was originally suggested by Mayor Blaine Willes, who said an Orem mayor's duties took so much time it would be hard for anyone who had to earn a living at a second job to do everything needed to promote Orem.In this week's meeting, council members disagreed.
"I really have some problems with the idea of a full-time mayor. I'm totally in favor of the city manager system," Councilman Keith Hunt said. It would be very hard to find a mayor with the specialized skills and training a city manager must have, he added.
With a full-time mayor and city manager, Hunt predicted there would be a counterproductive power struggle. "A conflict like that just cannot be allowed to be put in place."
Councilwoman Joyce Johnson said she had gotten letters on the issue from Orem residents, and one memorable one said: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"It isn't broken," she said, adding that perhaps the city staff could handle some of the mayor's duties and personal appearances if he were seriously overworked. In a previous discussion, the council had heard arguments that in order to promote the city, a mayor had to serve on numerous boards and make many personal appearances.
"It's not worth the money it would cost for a full-time mayor just to have someone be more visible," Johnson said.
Councilman James Evans said he did not believe a change to a full-time mayor was appropriate now but urged council members to keep open minds in the future.
The council voted 4-3 to drop the issue of making the mayor's job full time. The vote would have been tied except for Willes' vote, which he cast despite saying last week that he was dropping out of the debate and would abstain from any council votes on the issue.
Willes said he would remain silent because people had accused him of "greasing his own wheel" - suggesting the change to increase his paycheck, not because he felt the move would be good for Orem.
"I'm a little sorry I didn't wait until I was out of office to bring the issue up," he said Tuesday. "It's been an issue of some personal attack, which I resent."