Nicponski reflects on his time on Murray City Council
Oct 03, 2019 11:35AM
● By Shaun Delliskave
Two-term incumbent Dave Nicponski was defeated in the primary election. (Photo courtesy Murray City)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that after his defeat for re-election, Dave Nicponski seemed to be taking the bad news with great stride. “It was anti-incumbent, and I’m not sure why it was that way,” Nicponski said. During his life, Nicponski has had occasions to learn to shrug such things off. The two-term city councilman, who, along with fellow city councilman Jim Brass, was voted out in the primary election on Aug. 13.
Nicponski has had to endure hard times in the past but isn’t one who looks for pity. Having lost the use of his legs in a 1981 car accident, Nicponski has been confined to using braces or a wheelchair. One of his most prominent characteristics is showing he is quite capable of doing things himself.
Lately, incumbent politicians can’t catch a break in Murray, as Murrayites have sent a representative, a state senator, and two city councilmen packing within the last year. Regardless of whether other council candidates staged more organized campaigns or Murrayites want fresh ideas, District 1 residents will select between Kat Martinez and Jake Pehrson at the November general election.
Nicponski did vote for a property tax increase last year, the first since before the Great Recession. Local municipalities have been scrambling to hire and retain qualified first responders, and the tax increase was specifically tied to providing raises to police and firefighters. When asked what his greatest accomplishment as a city councilman was, Nicponski doesn’t flinch from his support of the tax increase, “Restructuring the salary system for the police and firefighters, providing them a competitive income.”
Murray City Council and Mayor’s Office relations have been relatively cordial compared to other Salt Lake Valley municipalities, such as Sandy and Draper that have had public feuds. “Murray is headed in the right direction,” Nicponski said, “because it has a responsible city council that is willing to make the hard choice.”
Still, the city council and mayor have had some public spats. Last year, Councilman Dale Cox sponsored an ordinance banning puppy mills, which received the full support of the city council, but Mayor Blair Camp expressed reservations and did not endorse the ordinance with his signature, even after it passed into city law. Months later, Nicponski spoke out against Camp’s request to restructure city government by moving human resources under the finance department. “I think it’s important that the HR department stand alone for purposes of legality, confidentiality and non-biased representation.” The resolution failed to pass the city council.
First elected to the city council in 2012, Nicponski has served two terms representing District 1. His first election was a nail biter, winning by only two votes; his second had a more comfortable margin of 95 votes.
No stranger to city government, Nicponski served the town of Alta as town manager. It’s a job he enjoyed, as he could use his lunch breaks for convenient ski runs. He also worked with the Salt Lake City Police Department as an undercover narcotics officer.
As an athlete, Nicponski played on a full-ride football scholarship to Snow College and had active pursuits. However, in 1981, Nicponski had to reinvent himself; he fell asleep driving his car and awoke to a doctor telling him he would never walk again.
He took a position with ATK Aerospace in their government relations department, where he spent over two decades. In 2005, he started his lobbying firm, Dave Nicponski Associates, advocating on behalf of such clients as Intermountain Healthcare, the Humane Society of Utah, the Unified Fire Authority, the Unified Police Department and the Utah Dental Association.
Asked what he would do if he had been re-elected, he stated, “I would renovate the Murray Park and upgrade the features instead of throwing millions of dollars at the Murray Theatre.” Murray City was recently awarded a grant to help renovate the old theater.