If Stella Welsh had to capsulize what she's learned during her six years as mayor of Orem, it would be that it's much easier to judge and criticize officials than it is to be one.
"I can only say I was absolutely wrong when I made those statements," said the mayor when confronted with a flier she used in her 1991 campaign."I didn't understand the system," she said, unworried about making a candid evaluation of herself.
"I've learned a great deal."
At 67, with a husband, eight grown children and 26 grandchildren, Welsh is willing to keep on learning.
That's part of the reason she reads avidly. "I enjoy a library," she said. "I keep them on their toes over there (at the public library)."
She reads a wide variety but particularly enjoys reading about cities and civic government. One of her favorites currently is a book explaining how a city cannot consider itself an island or to be self-contained without impact or being affected by what goes on around it.
She's open to new ideas and considers herself willing to listen to anybody.
However, when it comes time to make up her mind, she's fine with making a decision and making it stick, even when it's unpopular.
"People not in office don't understand how it is," Welsh said. "There are some things you can and cannot do unless you want to bring on a lawsuit."
Describing herself as "just a housewife," Welsh likes to garden and be with her family, but she's been passionate about civic service for more than a decade now.
She was the first woman to serve on the City Council. After eight years on the council she was elected mayor over interim Mayor Joyce Johnson, who'd been appointed after Blaine Willes resigned in 1991. Welsh was elected to her first four-year term as mayor in 1993.
She's lived in Orem for 37 years and served as president of the League of Women Voters, on the city Library Board, the Chamber of Commerce board, the Media Review Board, Youth Advisory Board, the Utah County Housing Authority board, the Utah County Weatherization Board, the city Beautification Commission, Safety Commission and on the Community Economic Development Organization board.
She was the 1991 outstanding volunteer for the United Way.