It's been my greatest honor to serve as your mayor. Provo stands at a time of great opportunity and together we will continue leading Provo forward.
With this election we officially know we will be saying farewell to two fine city councilors, David Sewell and David Harding, each of whom voluntarily chose not to run and will therefore be hanging up their city-council hats come January. Allow me to pay tribute to each of them now, even though I’ll be working with them through the end of their terms.
Dave Sewell is our present council chair, a role he has held in the past, too. He is actually the person I formally took the reins of mayor from, because when Mayor Curtis departed to fill his role as U.S. Congressman, Mr. Sewell was made Acting Mayor for a few weeks prior to my inauguration. Dave is the consummate gentleman, ever conscious of other’s feelings and perspectives and always encouraging the council to seek common ground and, even (one might say), “higher” ground.
When asked to share a few thoughts, he wrote the following: “As I reflect on my Council service these past eight years, one of the things that strikes me is how important effective relationships are.” That too has been a major point of emphasis for Chair Sewell. He describes the pride he has felt in shared accomplishments, including on public safety, with other council members and me. “What I will miss the most are the working relationships with Council colleagues, Council staff, and the Mayor and executive branch team,” he adds. Thank you, Chair Sewell, for your distinguished service. May it remain a source of deep satisfaction to you.
Councilor Harding is another very fine public servant and former council chair and vice chair. A hallmark of his service has been his thirst for understanding. No leader I know has demonstrated a greater willingness to sacrifice to get to the very bottom of an issue, to study it in depth and see it from multiple angles. I would be surprised to learn any city councilor in Provo history has lost more sleep reading briefings and studying materials than Mr. Harding. He is thoughtful, deliberative, and willing to explore options. He is also firm in his decisions when the decisions come.
None of this is intended to imply that, for example, Dave Harding is not a gentleman or that Dave Sewell is not studious; rather, I wanted to highlight some of the most notable strengths of each of them. In fact, Councilor Harding wrote something that I think all our councilors would agree with: “the real, lasting impact that I hope I have had is the continuation and strengthening of the public process that Provo uses to make decisions.”
Councilor Harding, thank you for your dedicated service, and may you sleep well, knowing that as an elected official you are leaving Provo City better than you found it.
One last comment about the departure of these two “Daves.” It has got to be a record that when I came on, five of our seven councilors were named George or Dave–and although we were sad to say goodbye to George Stewart partway through, we’ve continuously kept three Daves, even when Dave Shipley replaced Dave Knecht. With this election, after four years living with potential name confusion, we will finally have a city council made entirely of councilors with their own first name!
Let me end by thanking everyone who ran for office this election. It is no easy thing to enter the fray of public service. Your willingness to serve and run for office is commendable. And to those who will be taking up new posts, my warm congratulations.