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West Jordan Journal

New position in city hall filled by a familiar face

Sep 22, 2020 03:27PM ● By Erin Dixon

Alan Anderson is in a new seat but is not new to city hall. He has served West Jordan as a councilmember for three years and is now employed as the council adviser.

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Alan Anderson, former West Jordan council member, has taken a new seat. Rather than on the dais with the council (figuratively, since city council meetings are held digitally during the pandemic), he sits below acting as council adviser. Instead of discussing and voting with the council, he is the hands and feet of the council.

The council adviser’s job is making sure the collective opinion of the council is communicated with city staff and the mayor's office. 

“I meet with Korban Lee (chief administrative officer for Mayor Dirk Burton) regularly,” Anderson said. “[We have] two equal but separate branches of government. The legislative branch, which is what [the council] represents, is just as powerful and equal as the mayor. The council sets the ordinances and policy which the mayor executes.”[I oversee] everything the council needs to have. I make sure there is purpose for the city council meetings. It’s chasing down, ‘where’s this resolution,’ ‘we need to get this moderate incoming housing on the agenda,’ ‘get this acted on.’”

“I love Alan,” resident Ashlee Matthews said. “He's smart, available, thorough and receptive. He has great follow through and goes above and beyond. I wish so badly he would have been elected mayor.”

Council director is a new position in West Jordan that was created when the city changed form of government. Until this past January, West Jordan had a city manager that implemented the decisions of the city council (manager/council form), while the mayor was the chair and collective voice of the city council. (See more information on the change of government here:

Anderson lost an election against Sophie Rice in 2015, but after she vacated her district four seat after a year of service, he took her place after a round of interviews and a game of chance against David Pack. 

“[The council] made a motion to seat Pack, and they ended up with a 3/3 vote,” Anderson said. “The state law dictates that you can’t bring back up a failed motion.” 

The choice was left to chance. Burton (a council member at the time) provided the hat; the police chief pulled out the names and stated which party was heads. Then a coin was tossed.

“When the city clerk said it was heads, the council said, ‘Congratulations council member Anderson!” Anderson said. 

Anderson was district 4’s representative for the rest of the year, but he was required to run the election for the remaining two years of district four’s term. He ran unopposed, so he retained the seat until the end of 2019.

When his term was about to expire, he ran for mayor rather than reelection for council.

“With the change in government, I thought the city needed someone more aggressive on economic development, someone more aggressive on getting the city out of its financial situation,” Anderson said. 

Anderson lost the primary race to former council member Dirk Burton and incumbent Jim Riding. David Pack won the seat for District 4, replacing Anderson. 

After competing with several candidates in early 2020, Anderson was selected by the current council to succeed former David Brickey, who had been acting as temporary council director after his service as city m