Davis County Elections – 2014

As a county delegate for Davis county from Layton Precinct 31 (LA31), I’ve been interviewing delegates to try and make a good and informed decision at the county convention.  I wanted to post the information I’ve received from the candidates here in a public place for people in my precinct to be able to weigh in if they so choose.

I know that the candidates are busy and I found that trying to have a phone interview with each one was going to be difficult.  I decided to create a 4 question interview and send it out to each candidate to see how they would respond.  This I could use as a basis for followup questions either by email or at the various meet the candidate events.  Some candidates really took the time to answer my questions.  Others were a bit terse and wished I’d just look at their websites to glean the answers that I wanted.  I appreciated any candidate that was willing to engage me personally.  Though I respect that the candidates want to streamline their campaigns with websites and social media, I think it says a lot about a candidate who is willing to take the time to answer directly the questions of any delegate.

The first 2 questions are just to get a feel for the candidate and how they view the office.  I was most interested in the second 2 questions with the last one most of all.  I wanted to see why the candidate felt that they were the best person for the job over their opponents.  If a candidate doesn’t feel that they’re the best one for the office, then I have to question why they are running.  If they think any of the candidates will do a good job, then is the candidacy just for their own personal ambitions rather than serving as a public servant.

Rather than having to try and traverse the blog to find the candidate information, I’m posting links to the pages I’ve created for each candidate.  Come to this post again in the future because I will update each candidates page with followup questions and answers as well as information from candidates who have yet to respond.

I hope this helps anyone who is interested in the local races.

County Assessor

County Clerk/Auditor

County Commissioner Seat A

County Commissioner Seat B

County Recorder

County Sheriff

Posted in County Election 2014 by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Keith Major – County Clerk/Auditor

Keith Major
Keith Major’s campaign website

Tell me about yourself.

Look at my web site.

What are the duties of the County Clerk/Auditor?

Budget officer for the county, elections, purchasing and marriage licenses.

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Clerk/Auditor?

  1. Decentralization of budget, give other elected officials the authority over their budget that they need to perform the job we hired them to do.
  2. Improve our internal customer service in our purchasing office to help with #1.
  3. Produce a citizen-centric report with goals and objectives to supplement our CAFR and provide better transparency to the citizens of Davis County.

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

1, 2, and 3 above. I have been working as the Business Manager of the Sheriff’s Office for the last 19 years and we have brought in more revenues or return budget of over $1 million dollars average over the last 12 years.

Kurtis Koch – County Clerk/Auditor

I spoke with Mr. Koch on the phone and did not send these questions as an email.  What I have here is from my notes of our conversation.

Tell me about yourself.

Curtis is from Preston, Idaho made famous by a little movie called Napoleon Dynamite.  His dad is the principal at the high school where the movie was shot.  The secretaries in the movie were his actual secretaries at that school.  He graduated at Utah State with a BS in business.  He got an MBA at Weber State.  He currently works as the deputy auditor at the county.

What are the duties of the County Clerk/Auditor?

In Davis county we have a combined office of Clerk and Auditor.  The clerk/auditor acts as the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Records Officer, and Chief Elections officer for the county.

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Clerk/Auditor?

  • Taxes.  Davis is low per capita for the state (~2/3 of the state average) for taxes.  He wants to continue efficient use of funds.
  • Transparency.  Already very transparent.  The county has already received national recognition for its transparency.  He has personally been in charge of this aspect of the Clerk/Auditors office for the past 2 years as the deputy clerk.
  • Update financial policies and procedures to match the growth of the county.  He has implemented tighter controls to prevent problems with using taxpayer funds.

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

  • Curtis has experience in a consolidated clerk/auditor office.  It’s more than just an auditor or a clerk.  He can do both and has experience in both.
  •  Management style.  The county personnel office broke the tradition of not endorsing candidates to endorse him specifically because of his management style.
  • Helped author Senate Bill SB61 which was beneficial to taxpayers even if it made the jobs of clerk and auditor more difficult because he felt it was the right thing to do.

Van Christensen – County Clerk/Auditor

Van Christensen
Van Christensen’s Campaign Website

Tell me about yourself.

I grew up in Centerville and not live in Layton, I am married and have five children between the ages of 5 and 15. I currently work for the Utah State Auditor.

What are the duties of the County Clerk/Auditor?

The duties of the Clerk/Auditor — the Clerk side manages elections, does marriage and a variety of administrative responsibilities. The audit side prepares the budget, does the accounting for the county, and does audits within the county.

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Clerk/Auditor?

The primary thing I think needs to happen in the Clerk/Auditor’s office is to improve the audit practices. One of my responsibilities with the State Auditor’s Office is to head up the local government division. This division evaluates the effectiveness, efficiency, and financial practices of the more than 1,000 local governments in the State of Utah. I have seen the best and the worst of these practices throughout the State and would like to bring those best practices to Davis County. In my work I have noticed that nearly all county auditor’s have gotten away from auditing which is why the office was originally established. I believe that effective audit practices can find and prevent fraud as well as efficiencies.

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

What I bring — The clerk/auditor is the Chief Financial Officer for the county which has over $100 million in annual revenues. If a private company of similar size were to hire a Chief Financial Officer my education, certification, and experience I believe would be minimum requirements. Education — I am the only candidate with a bachelors and masters degree in accounting. Certification — I am a CPA a well recognized designation of financial excellence. Experience — I have a broad range of experience evaluating as I said the best and worst of government efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.

Dennis Yarrington – County Assessor

Dennis Yarrington
Dennis Yarrington’s Campaign Website

Tell me about yourself.

What are the duties of the County Assessor?

Duties of Assessor are to value all properties in Davis County for tax purposes, including real property (homes, businesses, land) & personal property

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Assessor?

The items I believe I still need to address are listed right after the “promises kept” segment on my website:

Things still needing attention:

  • State-mandated CAMA software (the software we are supposed to be using to value the properties in our County): we and others in the first year found over 4,000 errors in the computer program code that prevented the program from working the way it was designed. Each of these required fixing by the program designers. In the 2nd and 3rd years, we’ve found thousands more.
  • Creating written standards for Residential and Commercial Appraisers
  • Complete 5 year Detailed Review cycle (this year will only be 4 years)
  • Creating a website so residential owners can see their assessed values by April 22nd (3 months ahead of the usual time) to further cut down appeals through increased communication

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel out there now…one more term should be enough to smooth out the functioning of the new program, enabling my office to begin decreasing staff numbers due to increased efficiency. I also pledge to continue improving the “Attitude of Service” in my office. I’d like to thank the dedicated county employees with whom I work for their wonderful contributions.

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

What can I bring? My 40 years of appraisal experience, my world class qualifications (best appraiser-qualified Assessor in Utah) and my determination to complete the promises I made 3+ years ago when I took this job. This will be my last term in office, I will not run again

My thoughts

I had a nice conversation with Dennis Yarrington on the phone. He seems a likable and personable guy. He knew exactly what he wants to do and knew exactly how he planned on doing it. He had lots of specific examples on how he has been able to improve things in the Assessor’s office (he is the incumbent) and said he had a 100% rating and is the only assessor that has that rating in the county. He has also promised that this will be his second and last term to finish what he had originally set out to do. From what I have read on the website, in his email, and my phone conversation, I am leaning towards him.

Posted in County Assessor County Election 2014 by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Dale Peterson – County Assessor

Dale Peterson
Dale Peterson’s Campaign Website

Tell me about yourself.

I was raised in Weber county, but have made Davis county my home for 27 years. I have been married for 28 years and have 4 sons. I have a degree in Finance and Real Estate from USU and an MBA from the U of U. I have owned and operated two small businesses, each with 30 to 35 employees. I have been an appraiser since 1991. I began working for the county in the Assessor’s office 8 years ago. Two years ago I was appointed by the County Commissioners to be the Director of the Tax Administration office. In addition to my college education, I have two professional designations from the International Association of Assessing Officers and have completed a dozen courses and seminars on multiple regression modeling of real estate values.

What are the duties of the County Assessor?

The Assessor is responsible for valuing the approximately 100,000 parcels of real property in Davis County each year. These property values become the basis for the property tax.

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Assessor?

Fair and accurate values on properties is a big issue. There are a lot of properties that have been significantly undervalued or overvalued. It is important that we be accurate in valuation on an individual basis and not just on average. Other issues have to do with the office being open and transparent, operating the office in an efficient manner and being responsive to the taxpayers. You can get more specifics on my website at DaleForAssessor.com.

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

I believe that I am uniquely qualified to run the office because of my education, small business management experience, appraisal experience and my experience at the county level both inside and outside the Assessor’s office.

Posted in County Assessor County Election 2014 by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Bob Yeaman – County Sheriff

Tell me about yourself.

What are the duties of the County Sheriff?

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Sheriff?

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

Posted in County Election 2014 County Sheriff by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Todd Richardson – County Sheriff

Tell me about yourself.

What are the duties of the County Sheriff?

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Sheriff?

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

Posted in County Election 2014 County Sheriff by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Anthony Thompson – County Recorder

Tell me about yourself.

What are the duties of the County Recorder?

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Recorder?

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

Posted in County Election 2014 County Recorder by Josh Ferguson. No Comments

Kevin Merrill – County Recorder

Tell me about yourself.

What are the duties of the County Recorder?

What are some of the issues that you think need to be addressed as the County Recorder?

What unique things do you believe that you, personally, can bring to this office?

Posted in County Election 2014 County Recorder by Josh Ferguson. No Comments