As of 1995, Utah County government is losing more than 70 years of experience with the retirement of four public officials. Two of them went willingly, while the other two did not.

County Commissioners Malcolm Beck and Richard Johnson, who both lost bids for re-election to their four-year posts in the June 28 primary election, as well as County Recorder Nina Reid and County Assessor Ron Smith, both of whom opted against re-election bids, are leaving office at the end of the year.

County employees held an open house Wednesday afternoon to honor the four officials, who are being replaced by Jerry Grover, David Gardner, Randy Covington and Claude Richards, respectively.Beck, who served two full terms as a commissioner, also held office in the American Fork city government for 18 years, including five years as that city's mayor. He also served on several county and state boards and was chairman of the Mountainlands Association of Governments.

Among Beck's proudest accomplishments in county office are having a balanced county budget - because Beck has overseen the county budgeting process since taking office - and reduced taxes as part of his tenure.

A first-term commissioner, Johnson also served two years on the Nebo School Board. He stepped down midway through the school board term to run for the commission in 1990. Like Beck, Johnson served on several state and county boards and was vice chairman of the Utah County Council of Governments.

Both commissioners have joked that they will work on their golf games in their free time. While Beck will be retired, Johnson will continue providing dental service at the Utah State Prison.

Reid worked for Utah County for 30 years and served six terms as Utah County recorder. The outgoing president of the National Association of Recorders and Clerks, Reid won national and state awards and recognition as a recorder, and her office received two national awards for records systems installed while she was in office.

View Comments

Smith, who was honored as the Tax Administrator of the Year and Assessor of the Year from the state, served three terms as assessor. He said his biggest achievement in office, besides awards and recognition for himself and his office, was combining the motor vehicle assessment office and the state motor licensing office so auto owners can pay their taxes and licensing in one place.

For the incoming commissioners, Grover and Gardner, this will be their first experience in governmental office. Covington has worked in the recorder's office for 16 years, while Richards has been the chief deputy assessor, Smith's chief assistant, for the past nine years.

Those four officials will be sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 2, at noon in the Utah County Commission Chambers, 100 E. Center, Provo.

In addition to the new officials, five other Utah County officials - County Attorney Kay Bryson, Clerk/Auditor Bruce Peacock, Sheriff Dave Bateman, Surveyor Clyde Naylor and Treasurer Leonard Ellis - will be joining them for at least four years. All five have served at least one term already, and have nearly 50 years of public service experience between them.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.