What Sevier County's three-member commission lacks in experience it seems to make up for in enthusiasm.
The latest to join the governing trio is former Monroe Mayor Ralph Okerlund, who has served a matter of only a few days. He was selected and appointed by Peggy Mason and Tex R. Olsen, whose commission tenures have just passed the seven-month mark.Okerlund's appointment fills the post vacated by Jerry Nice of Annabella, who recently resigned with about 18 months remaining in his second term.
Mason, of Salina, and Olsen, Richfield, were elected in November and assumed their positions Jan. 1. They succeeded Merlin Ashman of Redmond and Gene Mendenhall of Richfield. The latter was defeated in seeking a second term, while Ashman decided not to run again after serving several terms.
Okerlund was selected by the other two commissioners after three names were submitted by the Sevier County Republican Party Central Committee for an apointee to succeed Nice. Quinn Christensen, Central, and Brent R. White, Elsinore, were also nominated by the committee from a list of 10 county residents who filed for the position.
The newest commissioner is a dairy farmer who says handling population growth and providing services without raising taxes are the two major problems facing the commission. Okerlund has a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and taught school for five years before choosing to work full-time in the dairy operation.
Others who filed for the position were Tony L. Cowley, Venice; Max Hartle, Glenwood; Sandra Dee Phillips and Brent J. Lundgreen, Monroe; D. Fred Christensen and S. Douglas Wood, Annabella; and Al Ricksecker, Elsinore.
With Okerlund's appointment, a long-standing "gentlemen's agreement" of seating one commissioner from each general area of the county will remain intact.