NORTH SALT LAKE—Ken Leetham, a familiar face to city residents, has moved up in the world.
After having served as the city’s community development director, and more recently as their assistant city manager, Leetham officially became North Salt Lake’s new city manager in early January. Now, after a month in the job, he said he’s just as pleased as ever to be part of the city’s team.
“It’s a great city to work for,” he said. “I work with a great mayor, elected officials, and city staff.”
His move to city manager is just one of several job shifts the city went through in the new year, with Sherrie Llewelyn taking over as community development director and other positions seeing new faces. For his part, however, Leetham said he had enough experience with the duties of a city manager not to be at all thrown by his new job title.
“I worked closely with Barry Edwards,” he said. “The transition hasn’t been difficult at all.”
His previous municipal experience has also been helpful, having worked for North Salt Lake a total of six and a half years and in cities for a full 29 years. Though he started out in urban planning and community and economic development, he’d worked in city management for a couple of different cities before coming to North Salt Lake.
No matter what city he’s in, however, the most important aspect of city management remains the same.
“The goal is to work collaboratively with city staff, elected officials and residents to make positive changes in the city,” he said.
In North Salt Lake, however, there are some unique challenges that come when you try to make those changes. According to Leetham, one of the biggest issues is the fact that North Salt Lake is divided into three very distinct sections. The Foxboro neighborhood, the hillside homes, and the center of town all tend to have unique demographics that are often completely unrelated to the other two zones.
“The biggest challenge is meeting the needs of all the city’s neighborhoods, which are really very different,” he said. “Meeting the diverse infrastructure and recreation needs can be really difficult, depending on what area of the city we’re talking about.”
One need shared by the entire city, however, is green space. The city has been working on refining different elements of their general plan over the past several years, a plan that has included various parks and trails throughout the city. Leetham’s goal is for the momentum in that direction to continue throughout the planning process and into the execution stages.
“I want us to make good progress on our master plan when it comes to parks, open space, recreation, and securing financing for all of the above,” he said. “It’s my greatest hope.”