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Murray Journal

Cox, Turner secure city council seats

Dec 01, 2017 08:01AM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Dale Cox and Diane Turner will take their oaths of office in January. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

In a year of flux, where Murray City Council District Two will see three people rotate in and out of that seat in a three-month period, voters selected Dale Cox to fill that role. Diane Turner will retain her district four seat for a second term.

Nearly 47 percent of district two voters cast their ballots between Utah’s AFL-CIO President Dale Cox and small-business owner Darrell Pehrson. Cox secured 57 percent of the vote to Pehrson’s 43 percent.

The contest was relatively cordial with each having served in other civic positions. Pehrson served 16 years on the Murray School Board, while Cox was on the Board of Trustees for the Utah Colleges of Applied Technology (UCAT). This is Cox’s first election.

Born in Draper and a graduate of Jordan High, Cox settled in Murray 27 years ago with his wife, Jan. They have two sons. He has been a youth coach for Murray Recreational Flag Football and Junior Jazz teams.

A welder mechanic by trade, Cox began his affiliation with the AFL-CIO by joining the operating engineer’s staff as a business agent. He took on increasingly important roles in that organization as the years went by, becoming assistant district representative, district representative, and legislative coordinator for the State of Utah. In 2012, he assumed the role of president. He will be retiring from that position to serve full-time on the city council. 

He has also served the community in other capacities, such as being a member of The Road Home Executive Board, Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Advisory Board, the OSHA Advisory Board, and the Odyssey House Board, as well as a Salt Lake City Council appointee to the Citizens Compensation & Review Committee.

As a new Murray City Council member, Cox’s first order of business will be to look at the compensation of Murray’s fire and police department employees. 

“First responders need to be compensated accordingly to support our chiefs. Also, we need to look at all those that serve us, whether it be in the power or parks department. Murray shouldn’t be a training ground for other cities,” Cox said.

Downtown re-development will be the biggest issue facing Cox as he enters office. Murray has secured several pieces of property between 4th and 5th Avenues to relocate City Hall and government services. 

Other hot button issues include the proposed razing of buildings in Murray’s historic district.

“I would love to preserve the old buildings and make sure we can take care of our legacy. We need to work with private foundations in seeking to maintain our historical heritage,” affirmed Cox.

Cox will replace Pamela Cotter, who was appointed interim city councilwoman. The appointment was necessary due to Councilman Blair Camp being appointed interim mayor and required to vacate the council seat. Cotter was chosen from a field of four applicants that included Lynn Chatterton, Ted Maestas and Tom Roberson. 

Per state law, Murray has 30 days to appoint a replacement council member upon any vacancy. Four applicants applied for the position and were invited to appear before the city council at a special meeting for an interview. At the October 17 meeting, Cotter was selected among the applicants and sworn in to fill the remainder of Camp’s term.

Diane Turner, who ran unopposed for her council seat, will be sworn in for a second term. Upon the death of Mayor Ted Eyre, she was serving as chair of the city council and was sworn in as acting mayor. Her brief term until Camp’s appointment made her the first female mayor of Murray.

Cox and Turner will take their oaths of office in January.