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Eric Shaw arrived at Salt Lake City Hall less than two years ago to fanfare and praise as the new community and economic development director. But now, he's gone. No public notice, no official farewell.
Shaw's departure remains shrouded in mystery.
The City Council, which often publicly lauds exiting city employees, had no such ceremony for Shaw, who had come to City Hall in November 2012 with a Harvard degree and an impressive résumé from Louisiana for his efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
None of the council's seven members could say why Shaw left or whether he was forced out. The Salt Lake Tribune was unable to locate Shaw.
David Everitt, Mayor Ralph Becker's chief of staff, would say only that Shaw was moving on to "other opportunities," but he was not sure what those were.
Officially, Shaw resigned, according to Becker spokesman Art Raymond.
At the same time, Stuart Clason, whom Shaw brought in as economic development director 11 months ago, is also gone. He now works for the Utah Office of Energy Development.
During the same time frame, Wilf Sommerkorn, Salt Lake City's planning director since 2008, also left to take the director's post at Salt Lake County's Office of Regional Development.
Within a matter of weeks, the city's top three planners are all gone.
There have been rumblings at City Hall for the past year that Shaw traveled a lot too much in the eyes of some, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of speaking out on a personnel issue.
A review of travel records, however, shows Shaw did not travel an inordinate amount at least not on the city's dime.
Councilman Kyle LaMalfa said Shaw was well liked by the council and brought a lot of talent and insight to community and economic development. LaMalfa said he had "no idea" why Shaw left.
Council Chairman Charlie Luke, said he, too, was unaware of the reasons for Shaw's departure.
Sommerkorn said Friday he could not pass up the county's job offer.
"I left Salt Lake City, he said, "because of a great opportunity and a personal desire."
Sommerkorn added that he did not know why Shaw left. "I had a pretty decent relationship with Eric. We were able to find ways to work together and get things done."
Clason could not be reached for comment.
Councilwoman Lisa Adams, who is a former planning commissioner, said Sommerkorn and Clason were well regarded at City Hall.
"It leaves some big gaps to fill," she said.
Raymond said their absence won't keep planning from moving forward. The planning and economic development departments have many talented people, he said, to take over the heavy lifting.
Nonetheless, Jill Remington Love, a former councilwoman, has joined the Becker administration as deputy chief of staff. She will focus, to some extent, on community and economic development, Raymond said. She previously held a staff position under former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis.
Becker has said he will announce next month whether he will seek a third term. His plans may affect how the top planning slots are filled.
Councilman Stan Penfold noted that hiring a new community and economic development director is "something that should be done sooner, rather than later."