Mayor James Evans sent a letter to Orem residents that arrived at my home this evening. I appreciate him taking the time to address issues in our city and communicating with the residents of Orem. One of the issues he addressed in his letter is one that I have raised on multiple occasions, that being the inappropriate method used in hiring the new City Manager. In this letter Mayor Evans discussed the hiring of the new City Manager as following “best business practices”. I agree with him that in a normal business setting “succession planning” is a wise move, however there are some key differences with this hiring that make it different. In a business setting there are no competing interests. It is understood that everyone in the business is working toward the same goals. In a city government like Orem’s where we have a Council / City Manager type of government there need to be important checks and balances between the two sides. The City Council represent the will of the voters of the City while the City Manager is the head of the various bureaucracies that provide city services. It is natural for city staff to want to continue to grow their budgets and increase city taxes to accomplish their goals. By going along with the previous City Manager’s hiring decision rather than having their own vetting process, the City Council is failing to represent us in the process.
Further, in our form of government, the city is wisely set up so that the City Council hires the City Manager, thus showing that the people’s voice should be supreme. The City Manager is the CEO of the city that makes all of the executive decisions for the city, including the Assistant City Manager. I am glad that the previous City Manager had a robust vetting process when the current City Manager was hired as his assistant, and I would expect that the City Manager would have this type of vetting process for anyone that he hires to work in Orem, but the motivations of the City Manager and those of the people’s representatives are not the same. The City Council (including the Mayor) have a responsibility to represent the people when they hire a new City Manager. By effectively trusting the old City Manager’s judgement rather than having their own open and thorough vetting process they took the people of Orem out of the decision making process. It was their responsibility to represent us in this decision and they outsourced it. This is an example of how the current city council has misunderstood that their responsibility is to give the citizens of Orem a voice in how the city is run. It is also a glaring example of the lack of transparency in the current City Council.
I was contacted recently by a business in Orem that was being prosecuted by the City of Orem for putting up two small signs that apparently violated Orem’s sign ordinance. The letter explained how his business income had dramatically increased since he had put up the two small signs, yet the city had forced him to take them down. This heavy handed city government needs to stop. Orem businesses should be free to advertise their business without interference from central planners in the city. Further, the city should not discriminate against city businesses based on the street that they are located on. Orem is successful and has the nice city parks and other city amenities because we have been friendly to business. It is the businesses and families in our city that are responsible for the quality of life we enjoy in Orem. I will do all I can to be the ally of Orem businesses on the city council.
I have been an outspoken critic of the CARE tax, and have specifically criticized it as a bailout for the SCERA. SCERA President Adam Robertson invited me to come down and tour their operations and see what they are doing. I was very impressed. One of my primary concerns in the SCERA getting city funding was that they operate a movie theater that directly competes with the University Mall Theater. I do not support the government supporting one business at the expense of another. However, Mr. Robertson showed me that the SCERA movie theater is operated as a fundraiser for the other city services that the SCERA provides, and doesn’t receive any city CARE money. While I was waiting to meet with Mr. Robertson, I saw that the volunteer staff working behind the popcorn counter were young men, my guess would be that they were mainly 12 or 13 years old. I asked Mr. Robertson about it and he explained to me about the volunteer program that they have for the local youth where they can learn how to work and treat customers. I applaud this service to the community. I believe that it is critical for our city to provide young men and women an opportunity to work and build themselves, and I was delighted to hear that the SCERA provides this opportunity to nearly 400 young adults a year. I believe that this is a tremendous benefit to our city. In the nearly two hour discussion that I had with Adam he showed me many other ways in which the SCERA is being of service to our community. I still have a problem with how the CARE tax is being implemented and allocated in our city, but I was wrong about the SCERA. The SCERA is an asset to our community and I plan on going out of my way to support the SCERA moving forward.
QUESTION #1 -Sales tax revenues are not what they used to be. How will you encourage commercial development in your city?
You can see the video of all of the candidate’s for Mayor and City Council speeches on Youtube here. (My Speech starts at 38 minutes in)
Here is the text for my speech at the Meet the Candidate’s Night last Thursday:
I was approached at the Meet the Candidates night and asked if I supported the CARE tax. I do not. I do not support public bail-outs. The CARE tax is primarily a bail-out for the Scera, with nearly $600,000 in tax money going to the Scera each year for the past 8 years. I don’t believe that the Orem Public should be taxed so that the Scera can stay afloat. Continue reading
I hope to earn your vote, but I want you to know what all of the candidates stand for. The more people know about each of the candidates, the better our City government will be. Here is a link to a preliminary pdf of the Voter Information Pamphlet–2013 Primary (I’ll put up the final when I get it)
Tonight I finished reading the UTOPIA Interlocal Cooperative Agreement (found here). Here are a few tidbits that I found interesting: (note the bold headings are paraphrased) Continue reading
Here is the information I provided for the Voter Information Guides at both the state and the City of Orem:
Name: Jared Jardine
Office: Orem City Council
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Occupation: Partner at Crusader Health Technologies
Residence: 824 W 1440 N, Orem Utah
Years at residence: 4 at current residence, with 30 in Orem
I love Orem; I grew up in Orem and my wife and our 6 kids have made it our home. I graduated from Orem High, and have an MS in Computer Science from BYU. I am a partner in Crusader Health Technologies, a local small business. I have been active in the local Republican Party for the last 10 years.
Orem has overspent the past several years to the point that our city reserves are nearly depleted, and the city government is trying to raise taxes and fees. We are in this precarious financial position because we have been electing nice people without any idea of their political principles. If we want a conservative city government, we need to elect proven conservatives. I will stand for the conservative principles of limited government, property rights and reduced taxes. I will work to stop UTOPIA, get spending under control, bring transparency to everything Orem City does, and help Orem compete for local businesses. In the past our city has been known for prudent management and fiscal discipline. If we return to these principles we have a very bright future ahead.
Vote Jared Jardine, a conservative voice you can trust.