EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Don Richardson was chosen as the newest mayor of Eagle Mountain after City Council members spent nearly three hours publicly interviewing 15 applicants Tuesday night.

City Council members asked questions that ranged from how to stimulate the city's economic growth to the mayor's salary. Candidates gave opening remarks, then fielded questions from four of the five members of the City Council. Councilman Dave Blackburn did not participate because he was among the 15 applicants.

"It may seem like 10 minutes isn't much time to interview and select a mayor, but each of you have had opportunities to contact the candidates," Eagle Mountain city recorder Gina Peterson told City Council members at the beginning of the meeting.

The city closed applications on Nov. 9, Peterson said. Packets of information regarding each candidate were delivered to council members the same day, she said.

Eagle Mountain began accepting applications from interested residents on Oct. 23, after former Mayor Brian Olsen resigned, prior to being charged with seven felony counts of misuse of public funds. Olsen is scheduled to appear in 4th District Court at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

The city received a total of 18 applications from residents, but two candidates were disqualified because they were not registered to vote and one candidate was disqualified because he did not meet the residency requirements.

One candidate, James Peterson, was questioned specifically by Councilwoman Heather Jackson about a previous felony charge in 1991. He said his father's family trust business was under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

Peterson was included in the investigation because he received a check from his father, from the family trust, for a medical emergency, he said. He said he was charged with conspiring to break a law but said he was not found guilty of breaking any specific law.

Peterson, a former planning commissioner for the city of Orem, mentioned the charge in his application letter to the city.

"I paid the price in full, and my wife paid the price and my family paid the price," he said during his interview. "There has always been someone since then, and there will be some in the future, that want me to keep paying the price. The press would like to play that game for a while, but as the teamwork is established to run this town, that will be forgotten."

A majority of the candidates talked about the need for better communication in Eagle Mountain, and a love of the city was a major theme of the discussion.

"We need someone to come in here, whether it's me or someone else, I want the best person to come in here," said Alan Paul, the first candidate to be interviewed by the council. "I know what I can do and I know that there are people who can do a great job. There are good people here."


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