The campaign for Salt Lake County Assessor, one of the sleepiest elected offices in Salt Lake County (if not the whole state), is getting dirty.
In the race between the old and the young, surrogates of Kevin Jacobs’ have accused Jake Parkinson, also a candidate for Salt Lake County Assessor, of making sexist and degrading comments about women at campaign events.
In a post on Facebook, former Salt Lake County Republican Chair and current Salt Lake County Chief Deputy Recorder Julie Dole claims that Parkinson has been “telling people that his first order of business would be to fire the attractive women in the office” and that he “has insulted women delegates who refuse to support him by calling them names like “old” and “fat”.”
It’s a new low.
“Obviously complete rubbish,” said Parkinson about the accusations, arguing that Dole was spending her time on the County dime promoting Jacobs and making calls to discourage delegates from voting for Parkinson.
Becca Olea Adams, Administrative Assistant and campaign manager for Kevin Jacobs, reposted Dole’s post.
Both Dole and Adams removed the posts when questioned about the source of the accusations.
[UPDATE] Dole has said that she did not remove the post, but that it was blocked by Facebook after Parkinson complained. For more, see Dole’s response in the comments below.
It’s a strange turn of events in a race for a job that is about one step up from dog catcher in most voters minds (not that it isn’t important…but let’s be honest: who has a clue about how the assessor values your home or why it seems to bear no relationship to the value you paid for it or the real estate agent says he can get for it?). When I was temp-working at a Miami Beach real estate office for many years, this happened in my career too.
On one hand is Kevin Jacobs, who was appointed Chief Deputy to then Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardner in 2011, and then was selected in 2013 to finish Gardner’s term when he retired early. Jacobs often argues his superior experience managing a large staff and budget qualifies him for the job. Jacobs’ events seem stocked with employees of the Assessor’s office, and when I stopped to pick up a flier found myself surrounded by a smiling administrative assistant and deputy.
In the other corner is Jake Parkison, a much younger guy with experience working in the Tooele County Assessor’s office. He ran to replace Lee Gardner in 2013, as well, but was passed over for Jacobs by the Salt Lake County Republican Central Committee. He comes to the race with promises of making assessments more fair, more transparent, and faster, including technological innovations and updating the office.
Why the dirt in a race for an office few people understand? Could it be the risk to job security?
According to the Utah’s Right website, the Salt Lake County Assessor carries a salary and compensation of $164,405, which is more than $10,000 more than even Governor Gary Herbert pulls in. It’s a great job, with great benefits, and a relatively low political profile. Lee Gardner held the job with little opposition for eighteen years, and it could be reasonably assumed that who ever wins the office in November will hold it for just as long.