“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Grand County,” Grand County Council member Patrick Trim said on Aug. 15, just days after he sent a letter of resignation to council chair Mary McGann.
The letter, dated Aug. 9 and signed by Trim, said, “Please let this letter serve as my official resignation from the Grand County Council effective August 31, 2018. I will be relocating away from Moab and will be unable to fulfill the rest of my term. It has truly been a pleasure serving with such dedicated members of the council.”
Trim said he has accepted a new job, and said he feels it is better to resign from the council due to the job’s new demands.
“I couldn’t give council the time that it requires,” Trim said.
Trim’s resignation comes just 12 weeks ahead of the November 6 general election.
Trim was not intending to run for re-election, according to Mary McGann, Grand County Council chair. Two candidates vying for the position in November are Terry Morse and Brian Ballard.
“I was not surprised because I knew he was searching for a job outside the area,” McGann said.
In addition to the council seat held by Trim, two other council positions are up for election in November.
McGann is running for re-election, but is opposed by Norm Knapp. Jaylyn Hawks, also running for re-election, is facing Natalie McDowell on the ballot.
But the candidate who wins the November election — Morse or Ballard — won’t be sworn in until January. That means Trim’s resignation leaves a county council vacancy for the remaining nine meetings of the year, said McGann.
Ruth Dillon, Grand County Council Administrator, said the council is seeking advice from Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald on how best to proceed.
With less than half of a term left, an appointment could be made to fill Trim’s vacant seat. That process is similar to what happened last year when then-council member Chris Baird resigned with less than half of a term left. Trim was appointed to the Grand County Council last year to fill Baird’s vacancy.
“We have to wait on the attorney, Andrew Fitzgerald, to see what that would entail,” McGann said.
In the meantime, the council has six sitting members.
“It’s a possibility of a tie without any means of breaking it and so that’s a problem,” McGann said. “A majority is four. If you had one other person gone, everyone would have to vote in favor for (a measure) to pass. It complicates things.”
Grand County Council vice chair Curtis Wells wasn’t concerned at the possibility of council votes being tied in the wake of Trim’s absence.
“We’ll work it out,” Wells said.
McGann said she looks forward to either appointing someone to the county council or swearing in the new person who wins in the November election.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens,” McGann said.
Commenting on Trim’s departure, McGann said, “I’m happy he found a job and he’s moving on in his career and it seems to be what he wants and I’m happy for Patrick. I wish he could have stayed, but I understand that when a job calls, you go.”
As for his time served on council, McGann said, “I found him to be a man of integrity.”
Wells responded to Trim’s resignation by saying, “Pat’s a good man and I appreciate the time he put in as a public servant. I wish him well.”
Trim was a county council representative on several committees and boards in Grand County, including the Public Health Board of Southeast Utah District Health Department, the Old Spanish Trail Arena Advisory Committee and the county recreation board.
“Those boards and committees are going to be vacant unless one of the six of us stands up and takes over,” McGann said. “For me, my plate is full for my ability to take on another committee. Those are three very, very important positions. To not be filled, it’s hard on the boards and hurts our abilities to do an effective job. For that reason, it would be kind of nice to appoint somebody so at least those boards could be represented.”
Steve Swift, director of the Old Spanish Trail Arena, said Trim likes to be involved in activities at the arena and commented that his departure is “going to be a sad loss to the county.”
“He’s helping us with reviewing a proposal from a contractor, and he’s so clever at interpreting contracts and the ramifications for the county that it has been great. He saved us so much time. His service has been great and it’s going to be terrible to lose him,” Swift said.
Swift said the area will continue to communicate and work with the council moving forward on all of its plans.
“We will have to liaison with the county council more, instead of having Patrick’s direction. It means more work for us,” Swift said.
“He was looking after our interests,” he said.
Will not complete term; Morse and Ballard will vie for seat
“I couldn’t give council the time that it requires.”