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Council Changes Course on Funding Biskupski Transition

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake City Council might pay for Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski’s transition into the mayor’s office after all. They previously denied her request for funding.

Biskupski says she assumed the city already had a budget for this sort of thing, but when she asked the council for $25,000 to pay for her transition into public office, she learned that wasn’t the case. 

“It is completely awkward,” Biskupski says.

Every time a new mayor is elected, he or she will generally form a transition team and set up a make- shift office at city hall. That costs money, Biskupski says. 

“And if we want people of all economic abilities to be able to run for office, we need to make sure that when someone comes on board, that the cost is not something that you have to go to the community to ask for money, because you’re no longer a candidate,” Biskupski says.

The council took an informal vote in November to deny Biskupski’s request. In another informal vote, Tuesday, the council said they would support paying newly-elected mayors and council members half of their pending salary, to make the transition. Current and past mayors have used private money to make the transition.  Councilman James Rogers says he doesn’t think taxpayers should be asked to pay the salaries of two mayor’s at once.

“I mean, it’s all about planning,” Rogers says. “You really should be prepared for what’s to come ahead,” Rogers says.

Councilman Luke Garrott disagrees with Rogers.

“What I’m interested in is making sure that the new administration and new councilmembers can get going and get their feet on the ground as soon as possible,” Garrott says.

The council is scheduled to officially vote on a new transition funding ordinance next Tuesday. Biskupski will be sworn in January 4th

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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