Less Than Smooth
Well, that didn't go well, did it? Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has been forced to deal with a whole lot of recalcitrant department heads, who for whatever reason, are just not submitting their letters of resignation. KUTV Channel 2's Matt Gephardt reported that only 11 of the 33 city staffers submitted letters. Whether you agree with Biskupski's methods, it's apparent that a smooth transition isn't in the cards. Vetting the candidates on a "case-by-case" basis could have been done privately, but Biskupski chose to stack up letters instead. And what was meant to be professional looked unfeeling instead. Meanwhile, she has appointed new, albeit recycled, talent for spots such as public utilities, communications, community relations and, of course, her close staff (see p. 12). That rewarding your supporters is standard operating procedure. But while the new administration is an exciting prospect, the mayor's relationship with city insiders has some mending to do.
More Land Plans
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop plans to release his lands bill to the public this week, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The bill is ostensibly a compromise to resolve disputes over the use of Utah's public lands. Whether that will come to anything is a question as President Obama just imposed a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands, and environmental groups stand ready to fight an exploratory oil well in the Uinta Mountains. Oh, and we'll add a curious footnote about the slapstick occupation of a wildlife preserve in Oregon. Maybe we should mention Rep. Ken Ivory, too, who socked away $135,000 for his work fighting federal lands jurisdiction. That's not illegal. It's just not above-board.
Hooray for the federal government! Did we just say that in Utah? On Feb. 1, military veterans will be able to train in the solar industry. The Department of Energy is launching its "Solar Ready Vets" program at Hill Air Force Base, the Standard-Examiner reported. The goal is to put 75,000 vets in the solar workforce by 2020. This, despite what AmericaBlog calls an assault on the solar industry. James Neimeister writes that utility companies want to undercut the rooftop solar industry before it establishes itself. "So ALEC and privately owned electric companies teamed up for an assault on the Public Utilities Commissions in Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Nevada and many other states," Neimeister says. Indeed, Rocky Mountain Power has tried to put a fee on solar panels, and Nevada has seen its solar industry crumble after rates were raised for households with solar panels.