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Park City mayoral candidates explain what leadership means to them at Rotary candidate forum

Mayoral candidates Andy Beerman and Nann Worel.
Park City Municipal
Mayoral candidates Andy Beerman and Nann Worel.

Park City's two candidates for mayor, Andy Beerman and Nann Worel, sparred over competing leadership styles in Tuesday's Rotary candidate forum.

So far in the campaign for mayor of Park City, the candidates have been aligned on issues like climate policy, social equity, and affordable housing goals. However, there has been a sharp contrast in the style of leadership each candidate says they bring to the table.

Nann Worel has consistently campaigned on bringing a new leadership style to city hall. She calls herself a subscriber to the idea of servant leadership and said that philosophy has been missing from the mayor’s office over Andy Beerman’s first term.

“I think that my leadership style that I have proven throughout my career is one of inclusion,” said Worel. “It’s one of bringing people together. It’s one of working together and finding common ground and moving forward. I don’t believe any elected official needs to come into office with a firm agenda and say ‘this is what I’m gonna be pushing while I’m in office.’ We’re elected to represent the people, and that is what I have done.”

Beerman countered by saying he chooses to lead by conviction, and highlighted the relationships he has built during his time as a public servant. Beerman has several endorsements from Wasatch County officials, officials from the Wasatch Front, as well as Congressmen Blake Moore and John Curtis.

Additionally, a majority of current Park City Councilors have endorsed Beerman, but the majority of Summit County Councilors have endorsed Worel.

“It’s important to have the respect and the support of your peers, and that’s something I’ve built and we’ve heard that from our council members,” Beerman said. “You can change your decision, but to go back and be revisionist on that and walk away from decisions that you’ve made, leaves your peers feeling unsupported, and that’s something I won’t do. Even when it’s gotten difficult, I’ve stood with my council, I’ve stood behind the city and had the tough discussions with the community.”

Worel recently secured endorsements from former Park City Mayors Jack Thomas and Dana Williams, as well as retiring Councilor Steve Joyce.

She also criticized Beerman over his handling of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, when Beerman was initially out of the country on a surfing trip.

“And I also think that it’s important that you’re present in the community,” she said. “Andy, I know all of us need vacations, you were away on vacation. If I had been in the mayor’s office at the time that COVID shut our community down, I would have been on the first flight home, or I would have been on the phone every hour that the county council was figuring out what to do.”

Beerman responded by explaining that he was in constant contact with local officials for the first days of the lockdown. He said he made a calculated decision to return to Park City when he did, adding that he trusted the people in charge at that moment.

“Things went rough, I’d say on a Wednesday,” explained Beerman. “I immediately looked into changing my flights, and things were chaotic enough that I decided not to change my flight on Saturday morning for fear that I would miss it all together, but I was on the phone hour by hour through those next few days working with the county, working with the city manager, and working with the Mayor Pro Tem Steve Joyce, who had things in good shape.”

Ballots for Park City’s November 2nd municipal election are officially in the mail as of Tuesday. The election will take place exclusively by mail.

The full candidate forum and all of KPCW’s election coverage can be found here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.