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City Mayor, County Mayor: Nancy Workman

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Nancy Workman is just a little more than one-eighth of the way through her four-year term as Salt Lake County's first mayor. So, it may be inappropriate to raise an eyebrow over the fact that a majority of county residents responding to a new Deseret News/KSL-TV poll say they "don't know" what kind of job Workman is doing.

The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates over a five-day period in June, eliciting responses from 163 Salt Lake County residents.

Of those surveyed, 43 percent said they simply don't know about Workman and her job performance. Those who had an opinion were fairly evenly split, with 31 percent winding up on the approval side and the remaining 27 percent landing in the disapproval category. The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 5 percent.

Workman isn't distressed at her relative anonymity or failure to elicit opinions.

"Maybe it is too soon," she said. "I think people are wrapped up in their own lives. They hire us, expect us to do the job and they go about their business of trying to feed families and keep their noses above water."

Workman said the lack of opinion about her job performance may also speak to the nature of how she carries out her duties as the county's chief executive.

"Unless you are doing something terrible and really messing up and the media is covering that, people just figure you are supposed to be doing your job."

In contrast, the question in the same poll looking at the job performance of Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson found a mere 6 percent of city residents who didn't have an opinion — good or bad — about their political leader.

To be fair, Anderson has been in office longer and has more of chance to make a splash.

Workman said some of it also goes to the difference in their mayoral styles.

Anderson, she admitted, is more "colorful."

"He's more press savvy, more wanting to be in the eye of the press, perhaps," she said. "I'm more of a workhorse and keep my head and am concentrating on getting things working right."

Jim Braden, one of Workman's press officers, said the mayor does make between four and 10 public appearances a week, and he believes she is good at being "visible" despite the bulk of people who don't know about her.

"I think that is just sort of the way it is in county. I think you'll find other polls that show across the county, county leadership is not as well-known, except for the sheriff. There is high recognition for the sheriff, but for a lot of the others, the recognition is a lot lower."

Braden said he doubts county residents even know who their representative is on the new nine-member County Council.

"It is not good and it is not bad. It is just the way it is."

Workman said she is not going to let the "don't knows" change how she does her job.

"If I do things right, we won't be in the headlines all the time," she said. "Who knows? They may never know about Nancy Workman."

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com