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Lawmakers ask why board’s chief quit

SHARE Lawmakers ask why board’s chief quit

State lawmakers quizzed the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration earlier this month about the departure of its executive director but received no real answers.

David Terry left his post in April after a closed-door meeting of the trust lands board. The board never fully explained publicly what led to his leaving, other than to say a change was necessary for the agency's long-term benefit.

Several rural legislators took the news with raised eyebrows. Rep. Brad Johnson, R-Aurora, placed it on the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee for discussion July 18.

Rep. Tom Hatch, R-Panguitch, who earlier said the situation didn't pass the smell test, said it was "ironic" that the board gave Terry a glowing report only to "terminate him with cause" a month later.

"It just didn't make a lot of sense to us in the Legislature," he said at the legislative committee meeting.

Trust lands board vice chairman Lonnie Bullard was quick to correct Hatch, saying Terry wasn't fired but that he resigned.

Bullard, president of Jacobson Construction, said that in business there are things "under the surface" that sometimes result in disagreement over future planning or direction.

Lawmakers didn't probe the issue further. And Johnson before the discussion began said that he came away from his own investigation having a "real comfort level with what was done."

Meantime, the board continues to search for a new director. It interviewed 10 people earlier this month and then reopened the application process. Board Chairman Ruland Gill said board members are sifting through another 10 applicants. He gave no time frame for making a selection.

E-MAIL: romboy@desnews.com