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Nichole Dunn, Salt Lake County's deputy mayor under Ben McAdams and a high-ranking member of Peter Corroon's administration before that, is leaving county government next month.
Her husband, Donald Dunn, has taken a job at a Georgetown University medical center. "It's a really exciting opportunity for his career," she said, noting that she does not have a job lined up yet. "Donald worked in Washington for 10 years and we have a strong network of friends there."
Nichole Dunn developed a reputation as an effective and knowledgeable administrator in her 11 years with the county. She is credited with overseeing the details of the county's $1.1 billion budget on a daily basis, promoting the advancement of women in county government, and helping to drive initiatives that resulted in the creation of the Office of Township Services, the remodeling of the Capitol Theatre and the addition of a new facility next door for Ballet West.
She said her departure is unrelated to a recent controversy involving fired associate deputy mayor Justin Miller.
"Nichole is the finest example I know of a public servant who contributes to her community with tireless enthusiasm and a deep commitment to working across the political aisle to solve problems and achieve progress," McAdams said in a news release.
"She is an accomplished colleague, an important partner in moving Salt Lake County forward," he added. "Her work helped improve the quality of life for thousands of Salt Lake families and visitors."
Dunn received praise from other elected county officials for her job performance.
County Council Chairman Richard Snelgrove, a Republican, caller her a "real asset and a treasure. Her departure leaves a void." Democratic Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said both Corroon and McAdams benefited from her skillful ability to work with all parties on complicated matters.
"It is unusual for someone in such a high profile and critical role to only have friends, not enemies," she said. "It speaks to her special ability that that is the case."
Sheriff Jim Winder, a Democrat, added that Dunn has an unusual "combination of intelligence, diplomacy and decency."
Prior to taking a job with the county, she served as Salt Lake County Democratic Party chairwoman.
Dunn said "there is definitely no connection" between her departure and accusations of financial impropriety made in a wrongful termination notice of claim filed by Miller, the former associate deputy mayor, after he was fired last year, largely for allegedly embezzling nearly $24,000 from McAdams' political campaign. Miller had been McAdams' campaign manager.
Dunn said her husband has been hired as senior development director for Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center is named after legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi, who received cancer treatment at Georgetown University before this death in 1970.
The center has been designed by the National Cancer Institute as one of 45 "comprehensive cancer centers" nationwide.
Donald Dunn previously spent about a decade in Washington, D.C., including stints in the Clinton White House's Office of Political Affairs and in the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
An unpaid political adviser to McAdams, Donald Dunn is a former congressional candidate and one-time Utah Democratic Party Chairman. He makes his living as a fundraiser, most recently with the Fuel Freedom Foundation.
Nichole Dunn said she intends to spend the first couple of months in D.C. helping her children, ages 6 and 8, adjust to their new life. "I'll help them transition and then I'll start exploring opportunities," she said, promising to return frequently to Utah to visit her large extended family.