Utah County commissioners passed an ordinance Wednesday to separate the offices of Utah County clerk and Utah County auditor for the first time in 32 years.
The Utah County Commission consolidated the two offices in 1989, reasoning that the workload at the time did not require paying two full-time elected officials to handle the duties of the two offices. But the duties associated with each office have increased over the years, Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee said in a statement.
"In carefully studying this issue and listening to the public, I see a need to separate the offices once again and have two independently elected officials who can provide more personalized focus," Lee said. "With Utah County’s population continuing to skyrocket, I am confident that all county residents will benefit from the special focus that our new clerk and new auditor will provide to these two offices."
All three commissioners stated that the split was necessary but disagreed about the timing and logistics of the split, resulting in a 2-1 vote. Some concerns included the amount of staffing, costs and whether positions should be appointed or merit-based.
A group presentation before the board meeting detailed options and the costs surrounding them. The first option outlined minimal costs where the staff consisted only of the elected official, the second with a confidential assistant, the third with a confidential assistant and public service manager, and the fourth with a full staff.
"In my experience in staffing and adding roles, you want to be prepared and ready for something like this, so you have an assurance of success and not put someone in a position where they're essentially starting out with a deficit that could be hard for them to overcome," Utah County human resources officer Ralf Barnes said during Wednesday's discussion.
Those items weren't fully settled by the commission. The separation of the offices will impact next year's election. Utah County residents will elect two separate people to serve in the now separate positions.
Following the 2022 general election, the newly elected clerk and auditor will take office in January 2023.