MAPLETON — James Brady isn't big on politics, but his desire to serve has taken him on whirlwind tour of city government over the past year.
Twice in the past 11 months, Brady has been appointed to fill the void left by the unexpected departure of an elected official in Mapleton. Last August, he was appointed to finish the remaining two years of a City Council term. Then earlier this month, he was appointed to fill the vacancy left by former Mayor Dean Allan, who resigned July 1 for health reasons.
"I've never really looked at it as politics," Brady said. "I'm not stupid, I know it is, but I had worked in Mapleton city . . . and I just see needs and I try to help where I can help. The city was short a council member, and I was encouraged by people who know me that that that might be a good place to help."
Brady, who worked as a city attorney for Mapleton for a number of years and now has a private legal practice in Provo, said he had been planning to campaign for a spot on the council in the November election but was persuaded to apply for the vacant seat instead.
The announcement of Allan's resignation came as a surprise, and Brady said his first response was to seek out a replacement from the community. He approached other members of the council and various residents but said everyone he spoke to was unable to assume the position or not interested.
"It came down to, I think, the final few days and I was concerned that the city didn't have somebody who was stepping forward to take that role," Brady said. "We didn't have an applicant at that time, and I was given a lot of encouragement and arm twisting, so . . . I put my name in to be one of the applicants."
Brady said Mapleton's problems are well known, including water issues — particularly the city's secondary irrigation system — and land-use issues that require the city to strike a delicate balance between the rights of property owners and the city's ability to keep up with growth.
Both issues have become thorny at times.
"In Mapleton really we don't have party politics, we don't have a lot of division on political lines, we just basically have a lot of needs and different people have different opinions on how to deal with them," Brady said. "My goal is basically to continue to address those needs, first to evaluate and gather information, and then to present options to the council and let them deal with the decision-making process.
"The mayor really isn't the policy setter, and not the one who's going to resolve all the issues, but I can highlight the ones I'm talking about and ask the council to focus on them."
Brady is a self-described "short-term mayor," and although 3 1/2 years remain in the term, he has indicated that he may not be able to serve the entire duration.
"One of my goals is to try to ensure that all of our citizens have prompt attention given to the concerns that they raise," he said. "I think one of the problems in communities, and especially in communities as they grow, is that people feel like they are losing touch with their city representatives or that they get lost in the process or that their issues aren't being dealt with seriously."
And while he has no specific plans to seek another political office when his time as mayor has concluded, Brady said he is open to any role where he is needed.
"I would probably always be willing to assist where I can in city government," he said.