Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Salt Lake City Council Confirms Three Appointments to Biskupski Administration

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved three of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s latest cabinet appointments Tuesday night, but not before a rigorous interview process earlier in the evening.

Amid the litany of questions she had for candidates Tuesday, Councilwoman Lisa Ramsay Adams questioned Mayor Biskupski’s decision not to retain a number of experienced department heads, including Rick Graham who served as director of public services for 36 years. Adams told April Townsend, an associate director for Salt Lake County Library Services and the city’s new director of public services, she has big shoes to fill.

“And I think we owe it to city residents as a council to really ask the hard questions,” Adams said. “And make sure that we are replacing him and anyone else we are replacing with someone whose skills and experience ensure a continued high level of service and we really can’t afford to have someone who’s figuring it out day to day.”

In addition to Townsend, Salt Lake City Public Utilities Deputy Director Laura Briefer has been named director of Public Utilities and Mike Reberg, former division director of Salt Lake County Animal Services, will lead the Department of Community and Economic Development. Biskupski previously picked Reberg to head up public utilities, but Reberg withdrew his name when members of the council expressed concerns about his qualifications for the job.

April Townsend said she's impressed with the way the council handled the confirmation process.

“They take what they do and their role in it very seriously and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to be able to work with Salt Lake City,” Townsend said. “It’s a wonderful group of folks and when you have people that passionate about providing good public service it’s so great to be a part of that team.”

According to Biskupski, each of the appointees spent the past two weeks meeting with the seven city council members. Biskupski was ill Tuesday night and was not able to comment on the appointments. But in a statement she said she is grateful the council recognized the commitment and vision the appointees will bring to their respective agencies.

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.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.