Orem City manager Jamie Davidson resigns post | News, Sports, Jobs


Orem Mayor David Young speaks during a City Council meeting held at the Orem City Center on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald


In this photo taken May 2, 2013, then Assistant City Manager Jamie Davidson sits for a portrait in his office at Orem City Center.

James Roh, Daily Herald file photo

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Orem City Manager Jamie Davidson has turned in a letter of resignation to the city effective the first of the year, Mayor David Young announced Tuesday.

The City Council voted unanimously during their meeting to approve a severance package for the outgoing manager. The amount was not announced.

“I have known Jamie for more than 25 years and have appreciated his commitment to professional local government management as a city manager and administrator in Sandy, Lehi and Orem. I have especially enjoyed working with him on issues that Provo and Orem have had in common, including most recently our efforts at combining the two cities’ 911 dispatch centers,” said Wayne Parker, Provo’s chief administrative officer.

“While I understand maybe better than most how the council-manager form of government operates and the difficult decisions elected officials feel a need to make, I will miss my close association with Jamie in his role in Orem. I consider him a personal friend, a valued colleague and among the best our profession has to offer,” Parker added.

Former Mayor Richard Brunst worked with Davidson for eight years and said while he sometimes didn’t agree with him, he has respected him.

“Together we came up with many ideas to make Orem the city it is today,” Brunst said.

“While at the same time, we are losing or have lost Jody Bates, city recorder; Kristie Snyder, city manager secretary; Heather Schriever, city attorney; and now Jamie Davidson, city manager, all dedicated and loyal employees of the city of Orem,” Brunst added, telling the Daily Herald he predicted Davidson’s ouster due to conflicts with the council and city administration and doesn’t expect the losses to end there .

“I fear other department heads will soon follow, further hurting our city management,” he said.

Davidson is no stranger to difficult situations.

In 2013, the Daily Herald reported on Davidson’s hiring. According to that reporting, the incoming Orem city manager, who at the time was to take the reins during a period when the city was years into a fiscal crisis and at loggerheads on how to dig its way out, was the city administrator and LDS bishop in Lehi. On Jan. 6, 2008, a ward member, Kristy Ragsdale, sought counsel from him. He was sitting on the stand 10 minutes later, presiding over a Sunday church meeting, when she was murdered in the parking lot by her estranged husband, David Ragsdale.

Davidson got the news and ran outside to find himself confronted with the mortally wounded woman. He went back into the church, approached the microphone and told his ward that they would need to stay put, that the woman had been shot and that the parking lot was now a crime scene. Davidson then went back outside to help with media inquiries and to aid the police.

“That experience has shaped my life. It was a growing experience. I was caught in the middle. I needed to find a sense of peace with all of this,” Davidson said.

That experience propelled him to a position of assistant city manager in Orem in July 2011. In May 2013, the Orem City Council unanimously approved Davidson to replace City Manager Bruce Chesnut, who retired. Davidson said at the time he has found the peace he was looking for in serving Orem.

“I’ve always had a professional desire to work for the city of Orem. Two years ago, the opportunity came. That doesn’t come very often, and I jumped on it,” Davidson said at the time he became city manager.

About that same time, Jim Evans was the appointed mayor following the death of Jerry Washburn.

“Jamie has great respect from his peers around the state. They don’t want him just because he’s a good guy,” Evans said in 2013. “He brings a wealth of experience. Jamie is one of the reasons why we have our new guiding principles for the council to help govern the city now and into the future.”

Evans added, “We have a lot of tough issues and Jamie’s been in the thick of it to try and help us out of it.”

Davidson started as manager amid financial problems in the city. He assumed the role with a two-tier focus: keeping citizens taken care of and keeping the city financially solvent.

“Orem is experiencing a season of change,” Davidson said nine years ago. “Our potential and future is bright. I don’t see our future without hope. I want citizen engagement. Not just a particular group but 92,000 people.”

The council, which voted unanimously at a time when they were not in agreement on much of anything, were hoping they had the right guy.

“I like him, we get along,” council member Hans Andersen said. “He’ll bring some new blood and new thoughts.”

It is not known what Davidson’s next steps will be, but many city staff members have wished him well.

Orem Mayor David Young speaks during a City Council meeting held at the Orem City Center on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

In this photo taken May 2, 2013, then Assistant City Manager Jamie Davidson sits for a portrait in his office at Orem City Center.


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