Barely two weeks after Jeff Niermeyer left the City of Salt Lake as director of Public Utilities, Mayor Jackie Biskupski appointed longtime Salt Lake County employee Mike Reberg to take the post.
For the past two years, Reberg has worked as division director of Salt Lake County Animal Services—his second stint at the county in the past two decades. In the 1990s, Reberg was assistant director of public works for the county.
“In selecting the director of public utilities, I was focused on finding an individual with a high degree of management experience in the public sector, a proven record of environmental stewardship, and a demonstrated commitment to customer service,” Biskupski said in a prepared statement.
Reberg, who donated $600 to Biskupski’s campaign, also worked as the district director for former Congressman Jim Matheson. Now, he finds himself at the helm of a department that in 2014 employed 393 employees and generated operating revenue of $96.2 million.
Reberg will also have big shoes to fill. Niermeyer had worked for the city’s Department of Public Utilities for 25 years, spending the last nine as the director.
In addition to his jobs in government, Reberg serves on the board of directors of Save Our Canyons, and according to the news release announcing his appointment, his work in the private sector has involved negotiating land exchanges between private land owners and Salt Lake County for river parkway systems.
Reberg is the latest in a string of county employees to join Biskupski’s staff. Patrick Leary, Biskupski’s chief of staff, is a former director of public works and a township executive for the county. The mayor’s deputy chief of staff, David Litvack, was most recently the coordinator of the county’s criminal justice advisory council.
Biskupski, too, spent the last several years as a top executive for Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
Shortly after her mayoral victory was certified, Biskupski asked for resignation letters from 34 city employees, some who were working for former mayor Ralph Becker, and all of the city’s appointed department heads.
So far, only Niermeyer and Jill Remington-Love, who was the director of community and economic development, have the left their jobs, says Matthew Rojas, Biskupski’s director of communications.
Biskupski also announced that she hired Nate Salazar, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the District 4 seat on the city council, as a community liaison for the mayor’s office. City Attorney Margaret Plane, Justice Court Director Curtis Preece and Finance Director Gina Chamness have all been retained by Biskupski.
“My office will continue to be open and transparent as we work to build a team to serve the people of Salt Lake City,” Biskupski said in the prepared statement. “This is a deliberate process, and the people of Salt Lake City and city employees should know, these decisions are being made with the utmost care and will be made in a manner that ensures a smooth transition.”