Statement: False Claims Made on Elliot Campaign Mailer

Dear fellow Republicans,

As I’ve spoken to voters over the last week it’s been brought to my attention that a false statement made on one of my opponent’s campaign mailers has been playing a role in their decision making. A mailer delivered June 9 includes the following:

“We were also able to look in house and pay cash for the Syracuse Library addition serving the community in that area without increasing taxes”

Voters I’ve spoken to interpreted this to mean that Commissioner Elliot cut spending and saved enough money to pay cash for the library without raising taxes. This is not true. The library portion of your property taxes was raised 20% in 2017 specifically to fund projects including the Syracuse library addition. This was reported on by the Standard Examiner here.

To be clear: this tax increase was approved before Commissioner Elliot took office. However, Elliot appears to be taking credit for completing the entire project with no tax increase despite it largely being funded by a tax increase. That is a complete misrepresentation of his record. The cash for the project wouldn’t have existed without the tax increase. I’m not sure if this was omitted intentionally or if Commissioner Elliot just didn’t know where that money came from. Either way his campaign has benefited from the false claim and I feel it’s important to correct the record.

Changing our Form of Government: Why?

Background

Davis County operates under a full-time three-member Commission form of government. I’ve heard many voters express concerns about this form of government. The most common concerns expressed are about the lavish six-figure salary Commissioners enjoy and imbalanced representation between different areas of the county. Those are valid concerns, but to me the most urgent concern is the lack of separation of powers. The Commission is both the executive and legislative branch of government at the county level. No separation of powers means no oversight.

For example, last September, two Commissioners (including my opponent) decided they wanted to boost the county lobbyist’s pay by 40%. Normally when the executive branch wants to spend money they have the legislative branch providing oversight, looking for conflicts of interest, etc. But since the Commissioners are both the executive and legislative branch they passed it in two minutes with no public discussion about whether it was actually necessary and how the extra lobbyist money would be spent.

This is just one example. It’s time to have a serious conversation about whether that lack of transparency and oversight is acceptable for a county as large as ours.

I am not advocating for a specific form of government. I am suggesting voters decide if we should study a change. A different form of government may address some common concerns people have with the Commission, such as lack of separation of powers/oversight, lavish salaries, and imbalanced representation.

If I’m elected and voters are in favor of a change it may very well result in the elimination of my role or significant change to the office. I am more interested in good governance and public service than I am in turning this position into a career.

What form of government would we change to?

The state requires counties to pick one of four forms of government (defined in 17-52a-2). The options for Davis County are:

  • A three member full-time Commission (what we have now).
  • A five or seven member expanded Commission.
  • A three to nine member part-time council with a full time elected county mayor.
    • Council members can be elected from specific districts to provide more balanced representation.
  • A three to nine member part-time council with a full-time manager appointed by the council.
    • Council members can be elected from specific districts to provide more balanced representation.

This video briefly covers some of the differences between councils and commissions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS3W3wtCY_M.

How would the study/change process work?

State statute is also very specific about the process a county must go through to change forms of government (17-52a-302):

  1. The Commission submits a ballot question to voters on whether to form a Study Committee.
  2. If voters approve, an independent and unpaid Study Committee is formed to study the change and make a recommendation.
  3. If the Study Committee recommends a change, their detailed proposal is subjected to public comment and ultimately submitted to voters.

If I’m elected I will work to complete the first step in this process.

Has this been done in other counties?

Yes. Many counties both big and small are operating under alternate forms of government, including Salt Lake, Cache, Summit, and Morgan. Voters in Utah County will vote on a change later this year.

Political Newcomer Qualifies for Primary Ballot

LAYTON, Utah — Today Jesse Barocio, a software engineer and first-time political candidate, qualified for the primary ballot in the race for the Republican nomination for Davis County Commissioner. Barocio opted not to gather signatures and instead pursue nomination through the convention process.

Barocio released the following statement after the convention results were announced:

I am grateful enough delegates believed Davis County voters deserve a choice. Campaigning during the COVID-19 pandemic was not easy. Ultimately, we received about the same number of votes as the number of delegates my team and I were able to speak directly with over the phone. That shows what I have to say is resonating. I look forward to taking it to all Davis County Republicans in the primary.

Barocio will face the incumbent Davis County Commissioner in the June primary and looks forward to having members of the Republican party hear more of his ideas for government reform and steering Davis County in the right direction.