John Curtis sworn in as member of 115th Congress

November 14, 2017

Provo Mayor John Curtis’ resignation letter went into effect at 4:45 p.m. Monday as he was formerly sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

By unanimous consent, the Congress approved his joining the body. Curtis won in a special Third Congressional District election last Tuesday following Jason Chaffetz’s resignation earlier this year.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, performed the brief ceremony which included a large group of Curtis’ family and supporters sitting in the gallery.

Representative Curtis now wears the Seal of the U.S. Congress pin on his lapel, identifying him as a member of Congress.

Following a standing ovation, Curtis acknowledged his wife, Sue Curtis. He also thanked the residents of the Third Congressional District.

“They are good people who love America,” he said. “They have high expectations. I look forward to working with you.”

Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah’s Second Congressional District introduced Curtis.

Referring to the Utah delegation Bishop said, “We’ve been working at 75 percent wear now fully 100 percent. He is a fine addition to our body.”

Bishop also joked that Curtis is located in Chaffetz’ office and said he could give a good deal on a cot.

Corey Norman, former deputy mayor of Provo, has assumed the title of Chief of Staff for the new congressman. He too was surrounded by his family.

Former Provo staff members who will be working with Curtis include Gina Robie, long-time administrative assistant to five Provo mayors. Robie will manage the congressman’s Provo office.

She is in Washington for the ceremonies and to help the Curtis set up his Washington office.

In his resignation letter received by the Provo Municipal Council, Curtis said he was officially resigning Nov. 13.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my service for the past eight years and want to thank each of you for your friendship and support,” Curtis said. “I have worked alongside so many amazing employees and residents and will never forget my experience working for Provo city.”

Provo City Code 2.10.080 provides for continuity in the Office of Mayor by authorizing the Council Chair, while continuing to serve as member of Council, to act as mayor until a successor mayor is appointed. The current Council Chair is Dave Sewell, one of two citywide representatives on the council.

“I have three goals during this time,” Sewell said in a statement. “First is to keep the ship (the city) moving in the same direction at full speed, working with the excellent administrative staff that Mayor Curtis left in place. There won’t be any sudden course changes during my brief tenure as acting mayor.” Sewell continued, “My second and most important goal is help the mayor-elect have a smooth transition into office. The third goal is to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about how the administrative side of our city government works so that I can be more effective as I continue to serve on the council.”

The council will follow the procedure outlined in Utah code section 20A-1-510 to fill the vacancy.

Public notice will be posted on Nov. 20, stating how a qualified person applies to be considered for the appointment and the process for selection by the council.

The appointment of the interim mayor will occur at the regular council meeting on Dec. 5.

The Municipal Council released an intent statement on Oct. 31, recognizing that this midterm vacancy situation is different from many others in that by December 5; the citizens of Provo will have selected a duly elected mayor to take office on January 1.

The intent statement continues, “While the appointment process will follow State and City law, it was the sense of the Council at that time that the most appropriate course of action will likely be to appoint the mayor-elect to serve as interim mayor until the end of the year, though retaining the legal right to appoint anyone who meets the stated requirements.”

Mayor-elect Michelle Kaufusi has begun moving in to the mayor’s office and attending some meetings as she transitions into her new position. Wayne Parker, chief administrative officer, will be there to help with any training or information Kaufusi will need as she takes the mayor’s helm.