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Murray Mayor transition includes first female mayor

Oct 04, 2017 10:14AM ● Published by Shaun Delliskave

For 23 days, Diane Turner was Murray’s first female mayor. (Photo/Diane Turner)

Gallery: Mayor [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

For a brief moment, Murray had its first female mayor, Diane Turner. 

With the passing of Mayor Ted Eyre on August 25, Turner was appointed to the role of acting mayor and sworn in on August 29. Murray City is one of 10 Utah cities with a strong mayor-council form of government. Under Utah law, when a vacancy occurs in the office of the mayor, the chair of the city council serves as acting mayor. Turner is chair of the City Council. During Turner’s brief term, she retained her city council seat because her role as acting mayor was temporary. 

Due to timing, Murray will have three, possibly four, mayors within a span of five months. As Eyre did not choose to run for re-election, the city held a primary election where four candidates were narrowed down to two: City Councilman Blair Camp and former Murray Mayor Dan Snarr. The winner of November’s General Election will take office in January. 

Following a process specified in state law, the city council shall, within 30 days from the date of the vacancy, appoint an interim mayor to serve until a new mayor is elected and sworn into office on January 2, 2018. Murray City Council accepted applications until September 5. Acting Mayor Turner did not apply to be interim mayor, but she will run for re-election, unopposed, for her city council seat.

According to Turner, “I originally made an application because I wanted to ensure that we have a smooth transition from acting mayor to interim mayor and finally to mayor-elect, and that we had at least one applicant who would meet that standard. When we had three qualified applicants I was able to pull out. I have no interest in having a full-time job at this time in my life, and the mayor’s job is full-time plus.”

For appointing the interim mayor, the City Council had three applicants to choose from: Kathleen Stanford, David Sundwall, and Blair Camp. 

Stanford is a graduate from Brigham Young University with a degree in chemistry. She recently was involved with Preserve Murray, an effort to prevent the demolition of the historic Murray 1st Ward buildings. Sundwall is a primary care physician and served as the executive director of the Utah Department of Health from January 2005 to January 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Utah School of Medicine. 

Camp, who is running for mayor, has been a member of the Murray City Council since 2014 and worked at the Murray City Fire Department for 26 years.

In a special meeting called by the City Council on September 19, each applicant was invited to interview before the council. Upon deliberation of candidates, the City Council conducted a roll call vote and selected Camp interim mayor. In the Murray City Council meeting following the special meeting, Camp was sworn in as the interim mayor. 

Unlike the acting mayor, the interim mayor cannot be a concurrent member of the city council, therefore Camp must vacate his position as city councilman. Much like the interim mayor, the City has 30 days to fill that position and interested applicants should contact the Murray City Council’s office.

In her 23-day-long term, Turner expresses some satisfaction. 

“As Murray’s first female mayor, I am hopeful that there are many more women who will serve as mayor after me,” she said. “That perhaps there will be a paradigm shift where women will run in the Murray mayor’s race and win. Murray will only benefit by having a woman as its top official. This has opened my eyes to what is involved in the administrative branch of our government and will help me be an even better, more enlightened council member.”

“I feel I have very big shoes to fill,” expressed Camp about fulfilling the rest of Eyre’s term. 

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