David Brickey named City Manager-for next two years
Feb 01, 2018 04:20AM ● Published by City Journals Staff
David Brickey takes the oath of office as city manager of West Jordan. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
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Interim no more, but still temporary.
David Brickey, who has served as West Jordan’s interim city manager since Mark Palesh retired in July 2017, was named the new city manager in a unanimous and enthusiastic vote by the city council on Jan. 24.
“The fact that you have confidence in me, I am just thrilled,” Brickey told the council after being sworn into office. “Thank you and I look forward finding and hearing what we can do to make things better and improve this city. You have my commitment for the next two years and hopefully longer.”
Brickey will serve in the position for the next two years—residents voted for a new form of government that will see the mayor assume executive leadership responsibilities. This will dispense with the city manager position altogether, starting in 2020.
Every elected official expressed their confidence in Brickey, who was formerly the city attorney.
“David has done a great job in the interim capacity and the City Council has asked him to serve in this role permanently,” wrote Mayor Jim Riding in a press release. “He also has a proven track record with the city in his role as city attorney. We are confident he will help guide us as we prepare to transition to a Council-Mayor form of government in 2020.”
Councilman Chad Lamb said if he could choose Brickey to serve as city manager for the next 10 years, he would.
Councilwoman Kayleen Whitelock said Brickey understands the political landscape of the city, county and state. “He understands the growth we are facing and is willing to work with the council on what is best for our city,” she said during the city council meeting. She added he’s a good communicator, a necessary quality for the position.
West Jordan’s press release stated Brickey’s work philosophy includes building relationships of trust and providing services to the public.
“I enjoy working in the public sector and work hard to earn the trust of those I serve,” Brickey wrote in the press release. “I understand the challenges that can come from a politically charged environment, and work to bring transparency and leadership to the process.”
The appointment didn’t come without some concern. While the council voted unanimously to confirm his appointment, it voted 5-2 to authorize the new city manager’s contract. Councilmembers Dirk Burton and Whitelock, in addition to a few residents, voiced their concern about how the contract was written, specifically regarding severance pay and compensation.
Annual salary for the city manager will be $186,908.80. Whitelock felt the compensation was too high while Burton previously expressed keeping Brickey under the interim tag. The councilman was uneasy about awarding a position of employment that will be terminated in two years, making Brickey eligible for a six-month severance package.
According to the contract, if West Jordan decides to not continue employment with Brickey after the form of government change on Jan. 6, 2020; he would receive a five-month severance package.
But if Brickey and the city negotiate a “successor agreement” then no severance package would be paid. That agreement could include returning to his previous position as city attorney or being appointed as the city’s new chief administration officer, pending the mayor’s choice.
Burton said when someone knows their contract is ending they look to other locations for a job. Burton wants Brickey to remain with the city and have his full attention on West Jordan. Though against the contract, Burton said during the Jan. 10 city council meeting that “I don’t think we’ll get anyone better than who is already here. Let him continue to sail the ship.”
Councilman Zach Jacob said they don’t have the luxury of headhunting for what is essentially a “temp job” and said the council should focus on having a productive relationship with the city manager.
“We are lucky that we have an individual—in the city, on the staff—who can capably and exemplarily fill that position,” Jacob said.
The appointment comes two weeks after the city council voted 5-2 to not require their city manager to live within city limits.
Under the previous city code, the city manager was required to be a legal resident of the city within six months of being appointed. If the code had remained, Brickey—who currently lives in Park City—would either be required to move to West Jordan or be replaced with someone who lives within the city.
This makes the sixth time in seven years West Jordan has replaced its city manager.
Its latest appointment has worked in the public sector for more than 20 years. Brickey worked 10 years as the Summit County Attorney and seven years as Deputy County Attorney gaining extensive experience in planning and land use decisions. He was named the 2012 “County Attorney of the Year.”
Brickey was appointed city attorney in February 2016 and said any success he’s had since arriving is not a direct reflection of himself, but of the department heads and city attorneys he works with.
“It’s a team concept that I hope we recognize,” he said.