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West Jordan City Council appointee wins seat by coin toss

The newest member of the West Jordan City Council won his seat last week with a coin toss.
The newest member of the West Jordan City Council won his seat last week with a coin toss.
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WEST JORDAN — The newest member of the West Jordan City Council won his seat last week with a coin toss.

Out of 11 applicants, former council candidate Alan Anderson rose victorious Wednesday to fill the vacancy left by outgoing Councilwoman Sophie Rice after 3 ½ hours of interviews and a bit of luck.

Anderson, business manager of the charter school business services company Charter Solutions, and fellow candidate David Pack were selected by the City Council after several rounds of voting to narrow down the applicants. But when it came down to choosing between Anderson and Pack, the council's vote was tied at 3-3.

The tie, according to state law, must then be broken by writing candidates' names on two equally sized pieces of papers and placing them in a hat. The police chief then selects one piece from the hat to be "heads," and the other name is assigned "tails."

The city public works director then flips a coin. The city clerk, along with the two final applicants, then look at the coin to determine the winner.

Anderson was assigned "heads," winning the appointment when the coin landed heads-side up.

In an interview Monday, Anderson said he's pleased to serve West Jordan, hoping to use his business sense to strengthen the city's economic development activity.

"I'm looking forward to building on the great foundation we have," he said.

Anderson ran against Rice in last year's election, losing by 90 votes. When he found out she was resigning to move out of the city, he said he felt he "ought to put my hat in the ring."

Anderson praised the other applicants, saying they "all would have brought something to the table that would have made West Jordan better."

The new city councilman said he spoke with Pack before the coin flip, and they both agreed they'd be satisfied with either outcome.

"We let the coin fall as it may," he said.

Pack, who serves on the West Jordan Planning Commission and is president of Copper Hills High School's Parent Teacher Association, said Thursday the appointment process was "very fair."

"I was very pleased it was such a thoughtful vetting process by the mayor and City Council to make sure they appointed a person that would serve in the best interest of the city," he said. "To me, the coin toss seemed a fair, open and honest way to settle a deadlock vote, to bring the council and community together instead of dividing it."

West Jordan city spokeswoman Kim Wells said the coin flip was "the next step" in the appointment process, mandated under state law in the event of a tied vote.

"We were very pleased with the quality of candidates who applied to fill the council vacancy," Wells said. "Council member Anderson's business background will be an asset to his service on the City Council."