Salt Lake County mayoral candidates Ben McAdams and Mark Crockett both say they have the professional wherewithal to make county government more efficient and cost-effective.
Democrat McAdams took to the streets Wednesday to unveil his five-point plan for doing so. He chose a stretch of 800 East at about 2900 South for the occasion because the county picks up garbage on one side of the street while Salt Lake City collects refuse on the other side.
"This is an inefficiency and it's confusing for residents unclear about who is delivering services," said McAdams, whose pledge to forge new relationships between the county and cities on delivering services, such as garbage collection, was point No. 2 on what he is calling "Ben's Fiscal Fitness Diet."
Topping that list is a promise to conduct an internal comprehensive review of county government operations to identify ways agencies can work together to secure "economies of scale" that will advance efficiency.
McAdams also vowed to strengthen county procurement and contract practices, improve enforcement of county ordinances, enhance debt collection and involve employees and the public in cost-saving measures, such as reducing energy usage and optimizing fuel purchases.
"We must prioritize efficiency as a value," said the state senator and adviser to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, also a Democrat. "As [county] mayor, I will be vigilant finding efficiencies. I have a proven track record of finding innovative solutions and bringing people together."
His Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, Crockett, had challenged McAdams a day earlier to provide "real and specific" solutions to challenges facing county government.
After reading McAdams' platform, Crockett said, "They're all fine things, like they've been lifted right out of a business journal. But 70 to 80 percent of the time these efforts fail [because] they are really complicated. If you're going to reform a nearly $1 billion budget with hundreds of programs, you should have the skill set to do that. And that's what I have."
Crockett, a former county councilman, is managing director of Vici Capital Partners, a consulting firm that has helped large companies and state agencies become more efficient. If elected, he has promised to bring the same approach to county government.
On his website, Crockett also has listed his "principles of reform" redesign processes, empower employees to find ideas that work, listen and involve everyone, track progress and act now and laid out a timetable for enacting these measures.
County residents have a clear choice this November, he added. "Who do you trust to actually make it work, a lawyer and politician who's never been a manager in his life or a business person who spent his whole life doing it many, many times?"
McAdams countered that he is an attorney who was recruited by Becker to "bring a private sector and business background to government." In that role, and as a state senator, he said he has shown an ability to work with people on both sides of the political aisle to accomplish goals. That's something Crockett has a hard time doing, McAdams said.
For more information about the Salt Lake County mayoral candidates' approaches to making government more efficient, go to:
• benmcadams.com/efficiency • markcrockett.com/facts