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Heber City mayoral candidates debate leadership style

Kelleen Potter and Heidi Franco.jfif
KPCW
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Kelleen Potter and Heidi Franco

With the 2021 election a few weeks away, the Heber City mayor candidates talked about differences in leadership style during Friday's news hour. Carolyn Murray has this overview.

Kelleen Potter is seeking a second term as Heber's mayor, and she said her collaborative leadership style stands out as unique. She thinks the endorsements from the city council prove her ability to work effectively in government and to lead the city.

"Every council member has endorsed me publicly at this point," Potter said. "And I think they see me as someone that can work together, not just with the council, which no one could get anything done in government by themselves. It takes a few people. It takes three members of the council. I collaborate well. I've been asked to do a lot of leadership on the state level and the regional level. I feel like I work well with people, and I'm able to bring people together and tackle hard issues."

Challenger Heidi Franco has served two terms on the Heber City Council and plans to focus on city administration and council organizational efforts. She worries that the city council can't make good decisions when meetings run five to seven hours. Franco believes the council should stand up to developers because protecting the quality of life and managing development can happen simultaneously.

"The city council is asked to do 500 to 700 or 1000 pages of readings to prepare for most meetings," Franco said. "And it's easy just to roll over and say, fine, let it happen. Go ahead. And that's not the thoughtful, responsible growth our city needs to protect our quality of life. I stood alone many times on that council standing up for these issues because it's a lot easier just to let the development happen the way the developers want it."

Potter said she is the best person to be mayor at this time, outlining the role she has played as head cheerleader, PR person, and chief complaint officer.

"It takes a lot of time and effort to work with people and bring people together," she said. "I do believe that every person on our city council and our city staff care and want to preserve what we love. I think they're working hard to build a better community. And I think I'm the best person to be the mayor for the next four years.”

Franco said if she is elected, she'll focus efforts on building the city's capacity and creating accountability to the public. She said regular citizens don't trust the government to make wise decisions for them.

"I feel that we need to build that trust in our city, but the only way we can do it is if we build the capacity and have growth pay for itself in staffing, and we get the training and the staffing we need there," Franco said. "And then we really focus on accountability to the citizens and clear communication."

You can find more coverage on Wasatch Back elections and hear the entire Heber City Mayoral debate on KPCW.org.