SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 1, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski on Monday announced the withdrawal of Mike Reberg, her choice to head the city’s Department of Public Utilities, after the Salt Lake City Council opposed his appointment.
“It is with regret that I accept Mike Reberg’s request to withdraw from consideration,” Biskupski said in a prepared statement. “I continue to believe Mike is one of the most qualified individuals we could find to lead Public Utilities.
“As we move forward with appointments, I will continue to tap leaders like Mike who have expertise, empower a bottom-up management style, and most importantly ─ as Mike has just demonstrated ─ are humble servants to the people.”
Reberg also shared his thoughts in the statement.
“This city deserves to have the strongest possible leader for public utilities, and over the past week it was unclear whether I could secure the necessary political backing in the council to smoothly assume the leadership role,” he said.
“I have asked the Mayor to withdraw my name for consideration in order to ensure a smooth transition for the administration, the employees of Public Utilities, and the people of Salt Lake City.”
The Salt Lake City Council had voiced displeasure with several of Biskupski’s recent appointments, and some members had opposed the new mayor’s request for resignations from longtime city department heads.
Reberg was tapped to replace Jeff Niermeyer, who had worked in public utilities for approximately 25 years, including nine as department director.
City Council chairman James Rogers said he would have supported Reberg for a number of other city directorial positions.
“The council has taken its responsibility to consent to new appointments seriously, because we value how the Department Directors are critical to the success of the city,” Rogers said, in the statement. “We look forward to working with the Mayor on the future appointment for Public Utilities Director.”
Biskupski said she would prioritize the search for a new person to lead the Department of Public Utilities.
“I have great confidence in the on-the-ground experts who are making sure our city’s water is clean, our sewer system is efficient, and our cherished watershed is protected,” the mayor said.
“I look forward to working with the city council and the public to find a leader who has the managerial, environmental and political expertise to ensure the Department of Public Utilities is fully supported.”