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Park City's New Special Counsel Looks Forward To Learning More About Where She Lives

KPCW Radio

The newest addition to Park City Municipal’s legal team, Special Counsel Margaret Plane started earlier in March, bringing a long list of experiences with her. 

After working in Salt Lake City’s legal department for 12 years, first as a senior attorney, then as the city attorney, Plane’s commute to work has shortened considerably. She’s lived in Park City since 2011, and the Park City Council approved her hiring at the end of February. Plane says the main legal difference between Park City and Salt Lake City is that Salt Lake has a divided form of government, with the mayor and city council having equal authority while acting independently of each other. Representing Park City will be a whole different experience for Plane.

“Park City, under state law, is a different form of government," Plane said. "As you know, it's a five-person council, and the mayor has a vote only in the case of a tie. So, I think it functions differently with the city manager, and I look forward to getting to know that.”

Mayor Andy Beerman has expressed enthusiasm over Plane’s social justice experience. Plane served as the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, which supports individuals’ constitutional rights. She’s also done work for disability rights and LGBTQ issues and is a former president of the Women Lawyers of Utah.

Additionally, Plane was recently on the shortlist of nominees to fill a vacancy on the Utah Supreme Court. When asked if she still had judicial aspirations, Plane said vacancies on the court don’t happen too often, but:

“You know, we’ll see how it all plays out.”

With her resume, some people might wonder why Plane has taken the job with Park City. At the Council’s approval of her hiring, Councilmember Lynn Ware Peek even asked how they got so lucky. Plane says she thought hard about the decision, and getting to serve the community where she lives was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"It’s obviously a small town, and it’s a smaller government—it’s not the Capital City—but Park City has some uniquely sophisticated issues and some unique challenges that were exciting to me and are different than what I've previously worked on," Plane said. "Sometimes you see an opportunity and you say, 'yeah, that sounds like a fun challenge.' I'm ready for a change, and I think it will help me grow and help me enjoy where I live."

Plane will report to City Attorney Mark Harrington and Mayor Andy Beerman. Harrington and Plane will split many city attorney duties, with Harrington focusing more on land use and development and Plane on governance and assisting the City Council, mayor, boards and commissions.