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North Salt Lake chooses new mayor

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North Salt Lake officials have picked Shanna Schaefermeyer, a former city councilwoman, to replace Kay Briggs as mayor when he leaves at the end of the month for a job transfer to the Dominican Republic.

Schaefermeyer's selection came after a two-hour closed meeting Monday, where members of the City Council reviewed applications from seven candidates. She was selected with a unanimous vote.

Schaefermeyer said Tuesday that she was "very surprised" about her selection as mayor.

"I haven't been on the City Council for a number of years," she said. "It's going to be challenging. It's going to be fun. I'm sure it's going to be difficult. It will be all of those things."

Schaefermeyer served on the council from January 1984 until January 1992. She has lived in North Salt Lake for the past 30 years and has three children. She has a master of education degree from the University of Utah.

As mayor, Schaefermeyer will inherit a year-long legal dispute with Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson over 80 acres of foothill open space between the two cities. Salt Lake City wants to keep the land as open space, while North Salt Lake wants to develop part of it.

While Briggs was an ardent critic of Anderson's involvement in the foothill issue, Schaefermeyer said Tuesday that she probably wouldn't be as outspoken. Briggs gained notoriety last year after he publicly lambasted Anderson during a rally in downtown Salt Lake City about keeping the land as open space.

Briggs' exchange with Anderson — where observers said Briggs inferred that Anderson was a hypocrite about development issues — was caught on camera by television news crews.

"I'm not going to be a Kay Briggs," Schaefermeyer said, laughing. "I'm not out to rock any boats. But if a tough decision needs to be made, I'll make it." She said she would stand up against injustice.

Schaefermeyer will serve as mayor until the next municipal election in 2007, said city recorder LaRae Dillingham. Schaefermeyer will officially be appointed as mayor during a public meeting on Sept. 12, and will begin working when Briggs leaves.

E-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com