This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake City Councilman Luke Garrott, who has announced his candidacy for mayor, was selected by his colleagues Tuesday to the post of council chairman for 2015.
The vote was 6 to 1. Garrott did not vote for himself as a replacement for outgoing Chairman Charlie Luke.
The post could raise Garrott's profile in his quest to unseat two-term Mayor Ralph Becker because the chairman sets the council agenda and conducts its meetings.
Becker also will face another challenger. Former state Rep. Jackie Biskupski confirmed Tuesday she has filed papers at City Hall signaling her intent to run for mayor. She will make a formal announcement later this month.
In a brief interview Tuesday, she said she senses it is time for a change at City Hall.
Last time he ran, Becker faced only token opposition from a 79-year-old political novice.
Garrott's election as chairman came as a result of the annual vote to pick a new council leader. He served as vice chairman in 2014.
Garrott, who is in his second term, represents District 4 that includes downtown and neighborhoods running east to the University of Utah.
The 47-year-old councilman is employed at the university as a political science professor.
Councilwoman Lisa Adams said the selection of Garrott as chairman should not signal the council's displeasure with Becker.
"I support Luke [Garrott] for chairman but not for mayor," she said. "If he tries to grandstand, we'll call him on it."
Garrott said he will continue to focus on council priorities, such as air quality, urban transportation and such things as how to use development impact fees for parks and other neighborhood upgrades.
In the past he has been critical of the administration's approach and some of its decisions particularly the $116 million Broadway-style theater now under construction on Salt Lake City's Main Street.
"What we have in Salt Lake City is an old form of politics that is top down," he said last July, referring to the power held by the nonpartisan mayor and the seven-member council. "I have a deep feeling that something is missing in the way we make decisions."
The council also overwhelmingly selected James Rogers as vice chairman. Rogers is in his second year on the council representing District 1 that includes Rose Park and other neighborhoods in northwest Salt Lake City.