King of the Council
In the time Bill King has served as Sandy's mayor, the town has seen a lot of change.
King saw the implementation of SandyNet, the city's own internet service envied by other communities. He's worked with three different city managers and more than a dozen city councilors. And now, after an election he characterized as very "negative" for local politics, King leaves behind the hopeful project of the Sandy Community Campus to be overseen by Mayor-elect Stan Pulliam.
Though King earlier told The Post he might not ever run for office again, he also feels the eight years he dedicated to leading the Sandy City Council were well worth the effort.
"The last eight years have been very memorable for me," King said. "I have felt extremely honored to have been Sandy's mayor and done my best to see this city become the wonderful place it is. The people I have worked with on council and those employed by the city have made my time here a great experience. I learned much from my colleagues. I have watched the staff develop into a highly efficient and caring family whose focus has been doing what is in the city's best interest."
That focus was exactly what led King to run for mayor a decade ago. Though he lost his first bid for the position against then-incumbent mayor Linda Malone, he didn't give up, and ran again — a race that led to him serving four consecutive terms unopposed.
"I wanted to make a difference," he explained of his initial impetus. "It was about the community, especially after that landslide almost took me out."
Serving as mayor began as the way King planned to thank the community for help following a landslide at Bill's Automotive nearly closed his business' doors. And every run for reelection was a renewal of his promise to make change.
"The last eight years have brought much in the way of personal growth and education as to how our system of government really works," King noted. "Change is made through planning, cooperation, collaboration and finding a way to common ground. It is far easier said than done, but when good people with a desire to make a community the best it can be work together, the results can be both astonishing and humbling."
King noted that anyone expecting to take up the yoke and serve as mayor will have a similar learning experience ahead of them.
"I didn't realize the restrictions (of the position)," he admitted. "I thought the mayor had power when I was elected. For me, learning all the regulations, land-use planning (was a challenge). Our ethics laws are also pretty in-depth. Stan's going to have a steep learning curve just like I did."
To Pulliam and any aspiring future mayor of Sandy, King advises listening more and talking less. In his time as mayor, King noted that he "allowed for more Council participation," pushing Council to make decisions without just following his lead.
"I learned to talk less and listen more to hear what people wanted even if sometimes it was just to be heard," he said. "Oftentimes, the motivation to attend a meeting that was sure to bring controversy and angst was easily found when I thought that just maybe a solution that would make someone's life easier and better was possible before the end of the evening."
Looking forward, King anticipates Pulliam will have several challenges before him after he is sworn in on Jan. 7.
"Sandy's growth is not something you can stop," King said. "There's limited influence you can have."
Without twice monthly City Council meetings, hours-long workshops, ribbon cuttings or weekly check-ins with the city manager, King looks forward to stepping back, taking time with family and reevaluating.
"I want to regroup, focus on my wife, my relationship, my business, and get out and have some fun," he noted. King recently purchased a new race car and plans to put it to use at venues all around the country.
"The racing community is a family," King said, but he also acknowledged that he is leaving another family — the community of Sandy.
"I'm going to miss interacting with the community as their mayor," he noted. "All of the people I have come to know and work with since first being elected have given me so much more than I ever could have imagined. I feel as though the time, effort and dedication I have given have been returned to me many times over. I may not have been an over-achiever, but I think we (the Council) tackled ever challenge we had head-on and as well as we could with the information we had. I will have fond memories of the experience that will last a lifetime."