In athletics, it is not uncommon for teams to have rebuilding seasons or slumps after the loss of key players. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee has just passed through such a summer of discontent, with untimely personnel departures and events that have tarnished its reputation and performance in the public's eye.
The SLOC team has been rebuilt, however, and now it is time for it to produce in a clutch sort of way.Appointment of respected Salt Lake businessman Robert Garff as chairman of the SLOC is a good move. It is a worthy compromise between those encouraging greater public oversight and those strongly pushing the pedal of private entrepreneurship to drive the games.
As a leader, Garff has performed well in both public and private arenas. A successful auto dealer, he also is former speaker of the Utah House of Representatives. His understanding of rules and strategies on both sides of the public-private ball are critical in forging a strong partnership essential for a first-class Winter Olympic Games.
He should relate well with state legislators, Gov. Mike Leavitt's administration, other public officials and taxpayers who want assurances the interests of John Q. Public are being considered at every turn. But as an accomplished businessman, he knows the SLOC will function most efficiently and effectively without undue micro-management. His style, experience, integrity and temperament should enable him to appropriately walk that line.
John E. Fowler is another recent addition to the 2002 team. He was released Saturday from the Second Quorum of the Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will immediately begin his Olympic involvement as the state's Olympic Coordinator. In that role, he will represent Utah's interests during the planning process, coordinating contracts between the state and Olympic organizers.
A certified public accountant, Fowler is an accomplished leader who was a partner in Peat Marwick (now KPMG), working in the accounting firm's Denver and New Orleans offices prior to his five-year call to full-time church service in 1992. He also was a consultant and financial adviser to an international oil and gas company.
The naming of Garff and Fowler to work with SLOC president and CEO Frank Joklik round out the leadership of a team deep in talent and experience. Public "fan support" will naturally follow as they move ahead in unified and open fashion.