Charges and countercharges are flying in the debate over a proposed change in Weber County's form of government that won't be decided by voters until November.
Proponents say present and former county commissioners are spreading fear, trying to preserve their jobs at the expense of good government.Opponents, led by Commissioner Bruce Anderson, say the proposal combines "the worst aspects of an authoritarian type of government and a democratic-republic."
Former county commissioner Lowell Peterson said the proposal will set up a county council made up of political amateurs who will be "flummoxed" by professional staff members and a too-powerful chief executive.
But Deyonne Walker of Eden, who headed up the yearlong effort to get the proposal on the November ballot, said a change will bring better government to the county.
It's interesting, she said, that the only opponents to come forward so far are "commissioners or commissioner wannabes, and of course they're against it."
Weber County has a budget of more than $70 million a year and hundreds of employees.
The county manages sewers, jails, parks, health, roads, tourism, several recreational complexes and has ultimate responsibility for all the garbage collected in the county.
Currently, three county commissioners set policy, pass laws and administer departments. And the county's other elected officials - the sheriff, attorney, clerk-auditor, recorder, surveyor and treasurer - must come to the commissioners for money to operate.
Walker and her supporters say that concentration of power is the problem. Walker, Toone and half a dozen other people are proposing a seven-person county council and an elected county executive.
The new government would be split. The council would handle only legislative functions - passing laws and budgets, and setting policy. The county executive would run daily business.