The Truth about Jenny Wilson's Record

You may have seen Jenny Wilson’s negative ad calling her opponent, Trent Staggs, a liar.

The ad links to her “Setting the Record Straight” page in which she claims we are misconstruing her record. We believe her negative claims need to be countered. Here is a point-by-point rebuttal of that page.

Trent would have covered these points with her in person but Jenny has declined four opportunities to debate and has refused to debate at any point during the election. Trent has accepted every opportunity. If our claims about her record are inaccurate, she would have publicly debated her record. She will not address these points, but has only released a misleading webpage and run ads that call her opponent a liar when discussing her record of 12 years in county government.

Point #1: Jenny Wilson says we have claimed she has seven deputy mayors. She claims she only has three.

We have only claimed that Jenny has six deputy Mayors, but Jenny makes a great point. She did just hire a Chief-of-Staff this year which could be considered similar to a seventh deputy mayor.

Jenny claims that she only has three deputy mayors. She does, and she also has three additional “associate deputy mayors” which according to County code Chapter 2.06A.020 are considered the same as deputy mayors. To quote County code: “A designated associate deputy mayor shall be considered a deputy for all purposes established by Utah statute.

Placing the word “associate” in front of “deputy mayor” is political word play that allows Jenny to claim she is running a more fiscally responsible ship than she really is.

You can see Jenny’s full team here. For a more detailed explanation of Jenny Wilson’s six deputy mayors see Laurie Stringham’s: Beware of County Mayor’s Bearing Deputies.


The Mayor’s Administration line item in the general fund, which includes the mayor’s office, is up $400,000 year over year (6% increase) from $6.8M to $7.2M. And it is up a staggering 323% since 2014 from $1.7M to $7.2M.

You can see the year by year increases in the Mayor’s administration budget at the links below. To find that specific line item, just do a search for the word “Mayor Administration”. These are the county's official adopted budgets for 2014 - 2019. All adopted budgets can be seen here.

Point Number #3 Jenny Claims Riverton’s top employee makes $280,000 per year.

That is incorrect. This one person, compared to her six (or seven by her count), makes just $175,000 per year, a full $105,000 less than she claims. Regardless, one city manager making a significant salary is much different than six (or seven) political appointees each making hundreds of thousands off of the taxpayers.

We have never claimed a specific dollar amount in regards to her deputy mayors salaries. Only that she has six high paid political appointees, which is up dramatically from years past. However, Jenny has received significant criticism regarding the compensation and number of political appointees she has in her office which you can see here.

Point Number #4 - Jenny claims that spending has not increased by 50% in five years, we claim it has.

In 2014 the budget was $993 million. In 2019 the budget was $1.5 billion.

That is an increase of over 50%. Jenny Wilson has been in county government for 12 years and oversaw and voted for each annual increase.

Jenny claims that some of that money includes transportation funds given to them by the state and therefore that portion of the money doesn’t count. We think it does. When you consider that every county in Utah also received transportation funds from the state, yet their budget did not increase by 50%, you see that this is an apples to apples comparison between counties.

Even if we were to concede the point that the transportation funds included in that number shouldn’t count, the county’s general fund is up 40% in the last six years. The general fund does not include those transportation funds. So even if we take the most generous view on the county’s spending increase, it is still up 40%. That is still very fiscally irresponsible.

No matter how you slice it, or try to obscure the facts through complex budgetary math, these spending and budget increases are indefensible.

Remember where each candidate stands this election. Compare their records and vote for the best vision for Salt Lake County.

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