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After a decade as the Salt Lake County Council's liberal lion, Councilman Joe Hatch surrendered his seat.

With a goodbye gift under his arm, the Democrat put his other arm around his former staffer and now successor, Arlyn Bradshaw, and bid farewell to a council that changed Monday from a Democratic body to a Republican one.

"It is time to move on," the outgoing council chairman said simply.

Indeed, it was a time of transition for some of the county's top elected officials. In a chamber that spilled into the lobby with onlookers, the county swore in its newest officers Monday.

A brand new district attorney: Democrat Sim Gill. A brand new auditor and treasurer: Republicans Gregory Hawkins and Wayne Cushing. And two brand new councilmen: Republican Richard Snelgrove and Democrat Bradshaw.

It was a ceremony marked by thank-yous (D.A. Sim Gill praised his father for immigrating to the United States and helping him become the nation's first Indian-born district attorney), by humor (Assessor Lee Gardner joked that tax men will have a free ride into heaven because they've taken so much hell on earth) and by patriotic performances (an a cappella rendition of "America the Beautiful" by the Choral Arts Society of Utah).

Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman, of the Kol Ami congregation, urged county leaders to "serve a purpose beyond themselves."

"We hope that God will guide our leaders toward the greater good," she said in her invocation.

The ceremony signalled a political shift for the previously Democratic County Council — an evolution that appeared symbolically Monday when Snelgrove took the seat of outgoing Democratic Councilwoman Jenny Wilson.

Snelgrove's election — over Democratic opponent Holly Mullen in November — handed Republicans a 5-4 majority on a council that oversees an increasingly urban county of more than a million people.

"I undertake this as a sacred obligation and a sacred trust," Snelgrove said just moments after raising his arm to the square to accept his oath of office, "to do everything I can to serve the needs and desires and wishes of the residents of Salt Lake County."

Republican Councilman Max Burdick, presumed to be the next chairman, pledged to make that council a more contemplative body that would look hard at making government more effective and efficient.

"I don't see us as being a knee-jerk council," Burdick said. "I see us as being a level-headed council. I see us as being a look-and-see council. I see us as being a deliberative council."

Burdick turned to face his colleagues, "Is that close?"

Several members nodded.

The council enters 2011 with a considerably brighter outlook than in recent years, when the recession took such a toll on the county's coffers that officials cut employee compensation, shrank the work force, slashed departmental spending, raised property taxes and imposed a first-ever police fee.

Because of those decisions, the county plans to restore some employee pay this year and spare departments from further budget cuts.

"Salt Lake County," Burdick said, "is on the right track."

Salt Lake County officials

Council

Arlyn Bradshaw (D)

Steven DeBry (R)

Richard Snelgrove (R)

David Wilde (R)

Randy Horiuchi (D)

Jim Bradley (D)

Michael Jensen (R)

Jeni Iwamoto (D)

Max Burdick (R)

Assessor • Lee Gardner (R)

Auditor • Gregory Hawkins (R)

Clerk • Sherrie Swensen (D)

District attorney • Sim Gill (D)

Recorder • Gary Ott (R)

Sheriff • Jim Winder (D)

Surveyor • Reid Demman (R)

Treasurer • Wayne Cushing (R)

Source: Salt Lake County

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