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Mayor seeks mouthpiece

Rocky searching for someone to replace Seed's replacement

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is searching for another new spokesperson.

It will be his eighth in his six-year tenure.

Just weeks after the very public and somewhat nasty exit of his relatively longtime communications director Deeda Seed, Anderson has taken out ads looking to replace Seed's replacement, Cliff Lyon.

Both Lyon and Anderson downplayed the search for a new spokesperson, saying they always envisioned Lyon as a temporary fix until a permanent replacement could be found.

"Cliff's just trying to help us out," Anderson said.

But back when they announced Lyon was taking the job, there was no mention that it was a short-term gig. Lyon even quit his job at his beloved nonprofit Rhythms of Life to work for Anderson. He quit because Rhythms of Life contracts with the city and he didn't want a conflict of interest.

The Aug. 28 release announcing Lyon noted: "Cliff comes to the mayor's executive team with broad and diverse business experience" and "Cliff Lyon will be responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive citywide strategies for the dissemination of information, policies and direction to the public about city government services, programs and incentives."

Anderson said then: "I am thrilled that Cliff is joining our remarkable team. He will bring to this important job, energy, competence and passion."

Lyon has had a few heated disputes with some local journalists in his short tenure. Those disputes caused some tension between him, the mayor and those media members.

Lyon said one reason he can't stay on is that he plans to run for the state Legislature in Holladay in 2006.

"I came in as a volunteer to help out," he said. "I'm probably a little overqualified and a little over-opinionated" for the job.

"I told them I'd stay as long as they needed me. Needless to say, they've been dragging their feet a little bit," Lyon said.

Anderson has been criticized for the high turnover rate in his office. In his six years, 41 employees in the mayor's office have left. Another 30 of his mayoral appointees also have left. Some, including Seed, have said Anderson's hostile management style is to blame. Others say they enjoy Anderson's style and say he is a good, if demanding, boss.


E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com