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Utah County Commissioner Gary Herbert told the Women in Leadership group this week that the county "certainly could use a good female com-mis-sion-er."

However, Herbert said that holds for both genders."I think we elect the best people and that very well could be a female," said Herbert. "But I'm not into gender. I just think we need to get the best person for the job."

Herbert said the county is in as good a shape as it's ever been.

And as he looks at the upcoming departure of defeated commissioners Richard Johnson and Malcolm Beck, Herbert said they will be missed.

Beck brings the north county perspective to discussions, and Johnson has added valuable insights on agricultural situations, said Herbert.

A gentlemen's agreement, which loosely calls for each of the commissioners to come from different areas of the county, has "worked well," Herbert said.

Though not a legally binding agreement, it would be good to honor it as much as possible, he said.

He said the commission faces challenges whether it's dealing with control of Utah Lake and its resources or monitoring a possible moratorium on rural subdivisions.

He suggested the public become involved and help shape county de-ci-sions.

"The challenge, really, for all of us," he said, "is to look where we can give service. Call and leave your name with us. It's always welcome."

Herbert told stories about how one person made a major difference, including one about the founder of the Red Cross, "Grandma Mary Cox," and another about a recent recipient of the Freedom Festival Awards, David Beatty.

"We have these kind of people in Utah County," said Herbert. "When I travel, wherever I go, people ask what it is that makes it (Utah County) different. I tell them it's the people.

"That doesn't mean we don't have problems. As a community, we have a feeling of concern and reverence for each other."