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A 2ND ETHNIC AFFAIRS CHIEF DECIDES TO LEAVE POSITION

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In the second resignation in about a month, another state ethnic affairs office chief has quit.

Betty Sawyer resigned last week after eight years of service as executive director of the Governor's Office of Black Affairs, the Department of Community and Economic Development said in a press release Friday. Her resignation took effect Nov. 14.Sawyer could not be reached for comment.

Sawyer's boss, Rick Mayfield, said he had spoken with her about the resignation but wouldn't reveal what reasons she had given him for quitting other than saying Sawyer said "it was time to leave."

"She's been off for some time with some problems with her back," he said.

In recent months, Mayfield, director of the state Division of Business & Economic Development, has been nudging the ethnic affairs offices under his command to sharpen their focus. The offices are putting together an action plan detailing issues the agencies should address and in which directions the offices should proceed for the next 18 months.

The action plan will hone the philosophy that the offices should act as a liaison between state government and the minority communities they serve, particularly in making state agencies more aware of problems and concerns facing minority groups. Involvement in activities such as festival organization would be greatly curtailed.

Fineasi Nau, former head of the Office of Polynesian Affairs, resigned a few weeks before Sawyer.

Mayfield didn't think the reorganization effort had affected the two directors' decisions to resign.

"You know, I really don't know for sure, but I don't think so," Mayfield said. "You know, with Betty, she's been around for almost nine years. Anybody who stays in that kind of position for that long, you know, you get burned out."

Mayfield said the resignations did not represent any attempt to clean house of division heads who might have disagreed with the new course taken by the ethnic affairs offices.

Applications for Sawyer's position will be accepted until the end of next week, and Mayfield hopes to fill her post sometime in December.

Asked why it took a week to make Sawyer's resignation public, Mayfield said he had been out of town and didn't know why the announcement had been delayed.

Sawyer was selected in 1993 as recipient of the Community Service Award from the Mountain West Minority Reporter & Sentinel.

During her time in office, she helped promote cultural awareness by sponsoring the annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival. At the same time, she helped to develop partnerships to address substance abuse and gang prevention through the Utah Federation of Drug Free Youth, the Salt Lake County Prevention Coalition and Project Success Coalition.

Sawyer also worked with the Utah Negro College Fund, the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission and the Minority Education Commission.