By Zak Podmore
Published: May 2, 2019
Following San Juan County Administrator Kelly Pehrson’s abrupt departure late last week, Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy suggested holding a special commission meeting to hire an interim replacement on Thursday.
According to an email from Commissioner Bruce Adams obtained by The Petroglyph, Adams said he was unavailable to hold a special meeting, and the decision for the new hire has been pushed to the regularly scheduled meeting on May 7.
The candidate under consideration is David Everitt who holds a law degree from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and served as chief of staff to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker for eight years. He later worked as chief operating officer for Salt Lake City, and in late 2016, he took an interim position as interim Moab city manager.
A copy of a draft contract posted online shows a suggested salary of $5,763 paid twice per month until a full-time replacement for Pehrson can be found. As a contract employee, Everitt would receive no benefits.
According to the Utah Transparency website, Pehrson received a compensation package of $125,000 in 2018, including benefits.
According to the San Juan Record, Pehrson has signaled a willingness to help the county through a transition period. But in a statement released Wednesday, Maryboy said the commission was already considering disciplinary action against Pehrson when he resigned.
“If Pehrson had not resigned (giving only 48 hours’ notice), we would have taken disciplinary action,” Maryboy said. “The county administrator was more interested in throwing sand in the gears than in supporting the elected commission majority. That arrangement could not continue.”
Commissioner Adams told The Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday that he was sad to see Pehrson go. Adams disputed Maryboy’s assessment of Pehrson’s performance, stating that Maryboy had had “zero” contact with Pehrson and other staff beyond county commission meetings.
Everitt said in a statement that he was ready to step into the contentious situation in San Juan County and set the groundwork for hiring a permanent administrator. “I was surprised to be approached and would consider it an honor to serve San Juan County as their County Administrator, on an interim basis, to put into place some basic governance procedures, and structure the recruitment process for the next County Administrator,” he said.
“Everitt’s support will help us continue to make San Juan County more orderly and efficient,” Maryboy said. “And this is a perfect fit, as David is available only for a temporary timeframe, which gives the Commission time to recruit someone to fill the position on a permanent basis. It’s a total win-win.”