Maybe it's the red-hot growth rate. Western boom towns historically have had issues with opportunists and people willing to break the law to get ahead.
Whatever the reason, there is no denying that Eagle Mountain has had its share of scoundrels and oddities in public office.
That's why the new mayor sworn-in this month, Heather Jackson, felt it necessary to promise that she won't be arrested or indicted. Because others haven't kept such a promise, she is the ninth mayor to take office there in 12 years.
For the good of this fledgling city, we wish her well.
Consider that, since 1999 when a city councilman resigned after the county attorney declined to prosecute him for practicing polygamy, the city has had what seems like one scandal after another. One mayor left town suddenly and phoned his wife from California to say he had been forced to drive there at gunpoint. He later admitted making up the story. Another mayor lied about having a master's degree, then resigned after being charged with seven felony counts of misuse of public funds. Another City Council member resigned last year after being charged with a felony for failing to disclose a $10,000 loan from a developer.
During that same span, Eagle Mountain grew from a handful of homes on the west side of Utah Lake to a city of 17,391 (some more recent estimates place it at 20,000). It is projected to grow much larger in coming years. Relatively cheap land and quiet, picturesque surroundings attract people there. Growth has, in some cases, outstripped the city's ability to adjust. Eagle Mountain does not yet have its own police force.
None of these facts adequately explains why the young city has had so much trouble with its elected leaders. As with any profession, politics attracts a certain number of miscreants. Eagle Mountain may just have had a bit more than its share early on.
Jackson now has a chance to set a new tone for the city. A native of Maryland, she already is quick to acknowledge she doesn't have a college degree, meaning she feels no need to exaggerate her credentials.
If current growth rates continue, Eagle Mountain will someday become an important power in Utah County governance, as well as one of the state's major cities. The time is now for everyone in office there to begin acting like it.