Mike Vogel, a candidate for the Payson Town Council, bills himself as a champion of the workingman.
"All I've ever done since I was 10 years old is represent working people -- normal people," the Michigan native said. "I'm very proud of the fact that I've done that; I apologize to nobody."
Vogel, a retired firefighter who moved to Payson four years ago, also served as a township supervisor in Michigan.
"The township I grew up in needed somebody, so some of us got together and ran for office and won," he said. "We changed a lot of things.
"We did a new master plan, built a police department out there because we didn't want the county, improved the fire department, finished up the fire station, just had to do a whole lot of revamping."
The key to accomplishing change, Vogel claims, is to get people on both sides of an issue working together.
"I think the trick is to get rational people to sit down and take one step at a time," he said. "You take one small step and I'll get them to take a small step. Then eventually you get them back to where they belong and working together."
Vogel believes the current town council has several deficiencies that limit its effectiveness. One is that it wastes time catering to developers who have not met the town's criteria.
"The last rezoning they did for those 30 condos down on the Beeline, I'd have voted no," he said. "You get your stuff together, figure out where your water is, and don't waste my time until you have it.
"How many times do you have to tell people, ‘When you get the water come talk to us.' If that makes me anti-growth, OK, it's anti-growth."
But he really isn't.
"Growth will slow down just by the mere fact of the (increasing) cost (of land and housing), and because mortgage rates are going up," he said. "The part that worries me is that I don't see them getting ready for the six or seven or 10 years from now when Payson is basically grown up -- maxed out. People expect services. How do you plan on paying for those services? You better start thinking of ways to do it now -- building up, for example, Main Street."
Vogel also believes the current council hasn't been as vigilant of the town departments as it should be, especially when it comes to spending.
"I don't like the way they do the budgets," he said. "I'd rather have a department come back during the year and say, ‘OK, this came up and it's a true emergency.' Then we'll give it to them.
"Take the police academy. All of a sudden (Police Chief Gordon Gartner) found $25,000 in his budget by cutting this and that.
"My first question is, did they need it in the first place? I'm disappointed those questions weren't asked."
Vogel believes the current system breeds overspending and abuse.
"Towards the end of the (budget) period, all of a sudden there's going to be some expenses popping up, and they're mainly just using what they've got so they can get more the next time around."
Vogel, whose wife is a retired police officer, also believes the Payson Police Department needs to work toward accreditation.
"It's a natural standard from New York to Los Angeles. It's a flat standard (and) you come up to it.
"It eliminates problems. It dictates down to the paperwork. There are even standards for road patrol.
"Once you get it, you're the best of the best, and there's nothing wrong with trying to be the best."
On the subject of taking water from Star Valley to fuel new growth in Payson, Vogel believes the council made some tactical errors that made the appearance worse than the reality.
"My initial reaction on Star Valley was like most people -- you don't steal water from your neighbors," he said. "But then I went back and did some research on it and there was a policy passed by the people and the council actually had no options.
"They made their mistake by implying they were encouraging it, by going out there and testing the wells. It looked bad.
"They should have said, ‘Just bring the water to town limits and we'll test the quantity and quality.
"Some of the comments that were made did not help the issue any, and not just by the council. Some of the developers made some comments that infuriated people."
The bottom line, Vogel said, is that he would run a tighter ship.
"I doubt there's a single department you couldn't improve on," he said. "What (the current council) needs is a good dose of common sense."
This story is part of a series of articles about the candidates for the Payson Town Council.