Grand County Council member Evan Clapper, left, congratulated Grand County Council appointee Pat Trim, right, just after Grand County Clerk Diana Carroll swore Trim into office on Tuesday, June 27. Trim will serve through December 2018 in the District 1 seat that former council member Chris Baird vacated in early June. [Photo by Rudy Herndon / Moab Sun News]

The next time that you walk into a Grand County Council meeting, you’ll see a new face off to the left-hand side of the council’s chambers.

Council members voted 4-2 on Tuesday, June 27, to appoint Pat Trim to former council member Chris Baird’s District 1 seat; Evan Clapper and Greg Halliday voted against Curtis Wells’ motion.

Wells said that the greatest need and biggest hole left in Baird’s absence was the former council member’s budgetary knowledge and fiscal experience. As the council heads into a crucial budgeting period, Wells said that Trim’s financial know-how could come in handy.

“Patrick’s got a very proven, detailed background in pinching pennies and organizational finance and budgeting,” he said.

Trim, who moved to Moab about two-and-a-half years ago to be closer to his grown-up children, has worked as Moab Regional Hospital’s director of materials management since February 2016.

Moab Regional Hospital CEO Jennifer Sadoff said that Trim has been an excellent addition to the facility’s management team.

“He has extensive experience with managing large budgets and finding innovative ways to save on expenses in ways that don’t sacrifice quality,” Sadoff told the Moab Sun News. “I believe his experience will benefit the community in the same ways it has benefited the hospital.”

Before he moved to Moab, Trim served as the director of procurement and strategic sourcing with Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He preceded that job with a 10-year stint in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the director of capital equipment services at Aurora Health Care, a nonprofit system with a network of 15 hospitals and more than 150 clinics, and about 32,000 employees.

When he was working in other places for up to 14 hours each day, Trim said he wasn’t able to give back to the community. But now that he’s settled in to his current job, Trim said that he’d like to become more involved.

“I really want to get into civic responsibilities,” he said. “… Now that I have more time, I want to take what I’ve learned around the country and really kind of apply it (to Grand County).”

Trim touted his experiences on the job in reducing budgets and in dealing with contract negotiations. He described himself as a “change agent” who looks for ways to increase productivity and streamline operations in the field of materials management.

“I’ve always been taught that it’s my money, so I have to really watch it very carefully,” he said.

As the director of capital equipment services with Aurora Health Care, Trim said he took a clinical engineering department – which is responsible for repairing medical equipment – and brought those services in-house.

“It was cheaper for me to bring employees in-house and not pay service contracts, so … with that methodology, I was able to take a budget of $27 million and knock it down to about $11 million in the span of three years,” he said.

Since he began to work for Moab Regional Hospital, Trim said that he’s continued to look for savings.

“Just with the experience I have, I’ve saved (the hospital) upwards of a million dollars in the last 18 months, and that’s just going through and looking at products (and) looking at waste,” he said.

The changes, he said, didn’t decrease the quality of health care.

“(They are) the same products, but if nobody’s really watching the house, so to speak, the costs keep rising through no fault of anybody,” he said.

Trim was one of three candidates for District 1 seat

In addition to Trim, council members interviewed two other candidates for the District 1 seat: Grand County Airport Board chair Bill Groff and Grand County School District bus mechanic Trevor Knutson. A fourth candidate – Sarah Sidwell – withdrew her name from consideration.

Wells thanked each of the candidates for applying, adding that he has a lot of respect for each of them. But Wells said he believes that Trim is entering the position from an apolitical and civic-minded perspective.

“I feel like (as) a great compromise, but also from a very practical, logical sense, Patrick Trim is best suited to fill this position,” Wells said.

In addition, Wells said, council members unanimously agree that the time commitment is important, and Sadoff has given Trim her blessings to take the time he needs over the next year and a half to serve on the council.

Clapper said he thought it was worth mentioning that Baird threw his support behind Groff.

“And so in trying to not disrupt the council too much and be true to Chris’ constituents, I would like at this time to highlight that he was endorsing Bill,” he said.

But council member Rory Paxman said he thinks that the council, as a nonpartisan form of county government, should not be sponsoring someone.

“I think it’s who can do the best job, and I think we’ve got three good choices here, so I think either one of you will do a great job,” Paxman said.

Halliday said it’s important that citizens want to step up to the plate and serve Grand County.

“You can look around at a lot of different communities, and in most of them, there’s only a handful of people that make things work,” Halliday said. “Most of the people don’t get involved … They don’t want to take the responsibility to make the tough choices, but without a few people stepping up to the plate to do those things, nothing works.”

Members vote 4-2 to appoint hospital employee to vacated seat

He has extensive experience with managing large budgets and finding innovative ways to save on expenses in ways that don’t sacrifice quality … I believe his experience will benefit the community in the same ways it has benefited the hospital.