Grand County Council vice chair Mary McGann (right) read from an award honoring Solid Waste Special Service District #1 Manager Deborah Barton (left) during the county council’s meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The Utah Association of Special Districts recently presented Barton with its 2017 Distinguished Manager Award. [Photo by Rudy Herndon / Moab Sun News]

Solid Waste Special Service District #1 Manager Deborah Barton was presented with the Utah Association of Special Districts’ (UASD) 2017 Distinguished Manager Award during this year’s 29th Annual UASD Convention Awards ceremony.

The UASD represents all 473 local and special service districts statewide. Among this group of Utah district managers, Barton – known as Debby the “Garbage Goddess,” was recognized for her passionate contribution to the rural community areas of Grand County, northern San Juan County and the outlying residents that the district serves.

The Solid Waste District operates the Klondike Landfill north of Canyonlands Field Airport; the Moab Landfill for construction and demolition debris; and the Community Recycling Center. In addition, the district has been conducting a pilot composting project at the Moab Landfill.

The UASD said it respects Barton’s ability to listen to community concerns and ideas, applying necessary change when possible and within budget.

“Always striving to optimize operations of each facility under her management, Debby considers customer accessibility and services – all the while extending respect to the people of the county(s) and municipalities affected by the solid waste services within the district,” the UASD said in a statement. “She further puts the safety and well-being of the employees at the top of the list of priorities she must attend to every day.”

When Barton stepped in as the district manager in June 2015, she began working with existing staff members to retain as many as possible, looking to the future mission and goals of the district.

“Putting to practice her vast knowledge and experience, she recognized the need to remotivate and bring the employees together as a viable unit, working with each unique personality and individual skill-sets,” the UASD said. “She began the task of rebuilding a cohesive, contributing team for the district.”

Apart from her daily responsibilities at the Solid Waste Special Service District #1, Barton volunteers her time as a member of the Four Corners Recycling Initiative. She is an active member of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), serving as a national faculty instructor, as well as the safety ambassador for the Utah Chapter of SWANA.

“With a keen interest in how solid waste management impacts those served, she brings about community awareness and participation through various programs throughout the year – thus, co-joining all entities in a collective unit of involvement for sound, forward-acting, and creative solutions,” the UASD said. “Debby is driven to research and provides impact studies that are meaningful to both current and future considerations.”

Deborah Barton receives 2017 Distinguished Manager Award