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Murray Journal

Cotter sworn in; Murray City now governed by female-majority council

Jan 31, 2022 02:36PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Pam Cotter addresses the city after taking the oath as a city councilor. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

With the election of Pam Cotter to the Murray City Council, Murray is now a female-majority-run city for the first time. Cotter joins current Councilors Diane Turner, Kat Martinez and Rosalba Dominguez, leaving Mayor Brett Hales as the only elected male out of six elected leaders. With the forthcoming appointment of a councilmember to fill Hales’ former council seat in February, there is also the potential for a super-female-majority council.

Cotter, who hails from New York, has resided in Murray since 1985. She has worked for Murray School District for 30 years as a playground supervisor, teacher’s aide and substitute teacher.

In 2017, she was tapped by the city council, out of four applicants, to serve as interim city councilor for District 2, finishing the last three months of Blair Camp’s term. Camp was installed as mayor to fill the remainder of Ted Eyre’s term. As an interim city councilor, Cotter did not run for election, and Dale Cox was elected. However, she decided to run four years later when Cox balked at re-election.

“I was asked by several citizens,” Cotter said. “I also believe our democracy works best when people have multiple choices. I’m very service-oriented. I enjoy helping out when I see there is a need or when I am asked. I really enjoy being involved.”

Although she will be joining a female majority, they all endorsed her challenger in the electoral race. Cotter doesn’t see this as a problem.

“We have already had conversations about some issues facing Murray. I see us all working together for the betterment of Murray. If we disagree on certain things, then we might have to compromise. When we listen to each other’s opinions and thoughts, that is how we grow and learn. That is the main problem with our country right now; people don’t want to work together,” Cotter said.

Councilor Martinez echoes that: “I am looking forward to working with Councilmember-elect Pam Cotter, continuing to work with Councilmember Diane Turner, and the process of filling Mayor-elect Brett Hales’ seat when he is sworn in as mayor.”

One of the significant issues that Cotter will have to weigh in on is redevelopment projects. One of the most contentious projects, the Bullion Street project, happens to be the street she lives on.

“I have been watching this area deteriorate as the years went by. It had to take someone that could handle the tailings and keep everyone safe that lives by this area. I agree that this person is Michael Brodsky. He has come back with different plans that will work for that area. Will there be more traffic? Yes, but there has been more traffic on Bullion every time we built each subdivision, like Walden Hills, Walden Ridge, Walden Glen and other developments,” Cotter said.

Zoning laws are some of the things Cotter hopes to change while in office.

“We need to polish the zoning laws,” Cotter said. “I would like the zoning to allow new projects that will blend in with the surrounding neighborhoods. I would like our citizens to have the opportunity to work with our mayor and the city council in a workable relationship.”

Specifically, Cotter wants to target two properties for redevelopment.

According to Cotter, “One possibility that I would like to consider is that the old Shopko could be utilized as a Tech School. This would give our students a choice to help them further their education and learn job skills. I realize this would involve many organizations working together.

“Another goal of mine is to get rid of the old 7-Eleven/dry cleaners and restaurant at 700 West and 5300 South. These have been eyesores for over 15 years.”

She would also like to reinstate the power board rather than continue with the city council as managers of Murray City Power. However, Cotter feels that growth, particularly in downtown Murray, poses the most significant challenge for its future.

Cotter said, “Any development in the downtown area should include the RDA, the city council, residents, and businesses that surround that area. We need to be open and transparent with these projects.

“Making downtown thrive by bringing in more quality businesses and making sure our Murray Theater is renovated. Growth should be looked at case by case and use common sense in bringing in this growth to our city.”