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Sandy Journal

Sandy council appoints former Parks and Rec director to fill vacant seat

Jan 31, 2022 02:42PM ● By Justin Adams

The Sandy City Council met virtually last month to fill the District 4 seat vacated by Monica Zoltanski after her mayoral election. (Photo via Sandy City)

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

With former city councilmember Monica Zoltanski moving over to the mayor’s seat as a result of last year’s elections, the council found itself needing to find a replacement to represent District 4. 

Sandy City Code allows the council to appoint an individual to serve out the remainder of a term for such a vacancy, rather than holding an additional election. 

During a Jan. 18 council meeting (held virtually due to the rise of COVID-19 cases) the council interviewed 11 candidates who had put their names forward. Hopefuls ranged from former council candidates, long-time council attendees as well as former city employees. The council ultimately decided to appoint one of the former, Scott Earl, who was the city’s Parks and Recreation director until retiring at the end of 2020. 

In his opening statement to the council, Earl touted his experience as a unique strength that would allow him to immediately make an impact.

“I feel I would be a positive influence in providing service to District 4 residents, our employees and our businesses,” he said. “My experience and relationships in local government will help me get up to speed quickly.”

Coincidentally, that also happened to be the No. 1 attribute that many of the councilmembers were looking for.

“This is a midterm vacancy. We’ve had a lot of turnover. We’re still a relatively young council. Our veteran is councilmember Robinson with four years of experience. So I do place a high value on experience with the city and understanding municipal government,” said Council Chair Marci Houseman.  

“I’m looking for someone with directly applicable work experience. I heard a few people use the phrase ‘hit the ground running.’ That’s what I was thinking too. Somebody who can be immediately productive and contributory with little to no ramp-up needed,” echoed councilmember Cyndi Sharkey. 

However, Sharkey noted that there were multiple candidates who satisfied her initial requirements, which led her to come up with additional criteria by which to judge them. The additional quality she was looking for was the “ability to provide special expertise and insight into the most pressing front burner items on the city council agenda: Alta Canyon Rec Center, the old city hall/parks building and city budgeting.”

For Sharkey and the majority of the council, the answer for who satisfied that criteria was obvious. When the time came for each councilmember to name their top candidate, all but one nominated Earl. 

“Thanks for having trust in me. It means the world to me,” Earl told the council afterwards. “I won’t let you down.”

Others took advantage of the meeting’s public comment period to congratulate Earl and extol the council for its decision. 

“I’ve worked with Scott for almost 18 years. I just want to say, in my career, I have never worked with a better leader in my life,” Mitchell Stone said. 

“I think he’s going to be a fantastic choice for District 4. Living in District 4, this vote was extremely important to me, and I think the council 100% got it right,” added Graham Tinius.