Utah lawmakers may tweak new UTA board nomination process

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers may reconsider the nomination process for the new Utah Transit Authority board following a recent standoff between Utah County and the governor.

Utah County sued Gov. Gary Herbert after he rejected the county’s two nominees to the board created to make over the scandal-plagued transit agency. They settled the dispute out of court last month with the county advancing another nominee, whom the governor accepted.

Rep. Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi, suggested Friday that the Transportation and Tax Review Task Force address the “hiccup” as it revises sweeping transportation legislation passed earlier this year.

He and Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, raised the idea of giving the governor more names to choose from by allowing local government councils, comprised of elected city officials, and counties to make recommendations.

“Somehow we need to come up with more names to forward,” Schultz said.

Lawmakers may also want to look at extending board members’ term of service from three years to four, he said.

Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, said a three-member board “doesn’t really work” and suggested expanding it.

But others told the task force it might be better to allow the dust to settle after the Utah County situation before making changes.

Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said throwing salt into the wound would not help and could make things worse.

The new UTA board was created under SB136, transportation legislation passed earlier this year mandating that the board’s three seats will be made up of representatives chosen from Salt Lake County, and Utah and Tooele counties, and Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties.

The governor accepted other counties’ nominations and two of the three UTA board members were sworn in, but the seat representing Tooele and Utah counties remained empty as they took the governor to court.

The task force approved draft legislation Friday with the idea that there are still five or six provisions to tweak, including the UTA board recommendation process.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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