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Lingering flu slows Rocky

Mayor back after missing meeting, news conference

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Salt Lake City's mayor has been under the weather lately.

Mayor Rocky Anderson missed a meeting with a Federal Transit Administration leader, an afternoon news conference for the downtown reopening of TRAX light rail and a community meeting Wednesday because of illness.

Anderson said it all stems from the stomach flu he had a few weeks ago during the Arts Festival.

"We think we've figured it all out," said Anderson, who was at work today and Thursday and attended a meeting Thursday night about the city's new main library.

He went to the doctor Wednesday afternoon, and Chief of Staff Deeda Seed said the bug wasn't knocked out originally because his antibiotics prescription was too limited. He's now taking antibiotics again, she said.

The evening community meeting at the Glendale Senior Housing Center was the first Anderson has missed since being elected mayor in 1999, and Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Rocky Fluhart acted in Anderson's stead.

Fluhart said because the community meetings involve about 10 staff members from the mayor's office "we were able to discuss anything that came up; we were pretty well keyed up to respond."

"They understood," Fluhart said. "We're all human."

Despite his near-legendary work ethic, Anderson said his illness was not related to exhaustion.

The first year of his tenure, Anderson said, he and employees were working "horrendous hours" because of the steep learning curve. But Anderson took three days off after the illness in June, adding that he's not tiring himself out and that the time it is taking for him to recover has nothing to do with his schedule.

"He does work very hard; he cares very much about what he's here to accomplish," Fluhart said. "But he does have a life."

Seed said the illness didn't slow Anderson down last weekend when he went backpacking in Wyoming.

"He's actually quite fit," she said, referring to the mayor's frequent trips to the gym.

Fluhart said it's a myth that Anderson gets only three hours' sleep each night.

But the mayor's spokesman, Joshua Ewing, said he's never known Anderson to "put in an eight-hour day only."

Anderson sent his senior adviser D.J. Baxter to the meeting with Federal Transit Administrator-designate Jennifer Dorn on Wednesday morning, and University of Utah President Bernie Machen filled in for the mayor at the afternoon news conference.

E-MAIL: lwhite@desnews.com