Four sworn-in elected officials discuss their priorities for cityJan 25, 2022 02:11PM ● By Bill Hardesty
Craig Burton, the city recorder, administers the oath of office to Clarissa Williams while Mayor Cherie Wood, Sharla Bynum and Cory Thomas listen. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)
By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]
On Jan. 3, Mayor Cherie Wood, Councilmember at-large Clarissa J. Williams, District 2 council member Corey Thomas, and District 3 council member Sharla Bynum took the oath of office at the Columbus Center.
Mayor Cherie Wood
Wood begins her fourth term as mayor. Wood is the longest-serving full-time mayor in the Salt Lake Valley. She first took the oath of office in 2010. The city is different now.
"I have to say, of the four times that I've done this, this was the most inspiring," Wood said. "People are excited about the downtown. When we first started talking about a downtown, everybody was like, ‘Wow, that's crazy. We're not going to build a downtown.’ But now you see big buildings going in the downtown area. And so, people are starting to see what we've been talking about for 12 years."
Wood mentioned how 12 years ago there was an effort to rename the city. However, the initiative fell flat and "was almost offensive to our longtime residents."
"I think that we're all very proud to be South Salt Lake residents and businesses," Wood said.
On another occasion talking about her priorities for the next four years, Wood said, "I will seek to enhance and grow outdoor spaces, support safe and enduring neighborhoods, increase transportation and mobility options and see continued progress in our downtown, along transit lines, and in the Creative Industries Zone."
Councilmember at-large Clarissa J. Williams
Williams is a member of the Edge of the Water People clan and is born for the Bitterwater People. Williams is the first Native American to serve on the SSL City Council. Her addition also adds to the number of women serving on the council. Shane Siwik is the remaining male council member.
Williams began her remarks in the Navajo language and switched to English.
"I want to thank all of my family, my husband, and my sons, for taking the time actually to allow me not to be the mother, not to be the wife at home and settling for takeout almost every night," Williams said.
"It's just my passion for the city that got me to run. Also, I love where I live," Williams said.
At the time of her election, Williams was serving on the SSL Planning Commission.
Councilmember Cory Thomas
Thomas begins her second term representing District 2. During her first term, street lighting and pedestrian safety were a focus.
"A lot of people know my passion for crosswalks and pedestrian safety, and that's something I definitely plan on continuing," Thomas said. "I can't do this job without the residents, and I encourage our residents to stay active in this community and to reach out to us on council and let us know what you would like to see improved on in our city."
"I also want to say this is something that I will never take for granted and will always do everything I can to make our city a better place. I am lucky and grateful to have this opportunity and to have the support and encouragement from the residents," Thomas continued. "I will continue to work with my fellow council members. Being on council has not always been a smooth ride these last four years. Some of you may have witnessed that, but I think we're in a good place right now and work together very well."
Councilmember Sharla Bynum
Bynum is starting her third term representing District 3. For the last two years, she has served as the chair of the council. At the first council meeting of 2022, she was re-elected to serve as chair.
"I'm on my third term, that first term, there's a huge learning curve, a lot of watching, listening, learning going on. And then as I start to learn more and more, you're taking action. You're making decisions," Bynum said.
Bynum continued, "And so I thank everyone for the support, and whether you voted for me or not, I'm here to represent you. Some business owners don't feel they have a voice, but I'm here. I'm looking forward to representing everyone in District 3 and working with everyone on staff and on our council."
On Jan. 11, two new members of the mayor's cabinet were sworn in. Crystal Makin became the Director of Finance, and Christine Simonette became the city's Homeless Outreach and Strategies Director.