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James T. Evans named Orem mayor

James T. Evans talks with City Council Member and mayor pro tem Carl Hernandez moments after Evans was chosen to fill the remaining two years of Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn's term, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. Washburn died in September after battling cancer.
James T. Evans talks with City Council Member and mayor pro tem Carl Hernandez moments after Evans was chosen to fill the remaining two years of Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn's term, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. Washburn died in September after battling cancer.
Steve Fidel, Deseret News

OREM — Former City Council member James T. Evans was chosen Monday to fill the remaining two years of Mayor Jerry Washburn's term and is scheduled to be sworn into office Tuesday.

Washburn died Sept. 26 after a long battle with cancer.

"The mayor was a great leader in the community and on this council for many years," Councilman Carl Hernandez said of Washburn, reading a short statement after the council met in closed session for an hour. Hernandez then announced Evans' selection from among a field of 13 applicants.

The vote to approve the choice was unanimous, and the open meeting to make the announcement was over inside five minutes. The council plans to conduct a formal swearing in ceremony at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Evans said he was surprised and fully expected that going to get a hamburger after the meeting would be the biggest thing on his agenda for the evening.

"I told my wife I just wanted to make sure they had a lot of good candidates," he said after the decision was announced. "I was going to go home tonight and be a relaxed man."

Evans served on the City Council from January 2000 to December 2007. He said he has been away from city government long enough that he can take neither credit nor blame issues currently before the council.

"I come with an open slate," he said.

Evans said he may run for mayor in two years when his appointed term ends.

"I've never said that I wouldn't run," he said. "This gives people a chance to see if they like me."

Orem's mayor performs ceremonial responsibilities and is a voting member of the City Council. The mayor and council members serve part time.

Evans currently serves on the Utah State Board of Regents. He is also a trustee for the Mountainland Applied Technology College and the Utah College of Applied Technology. He is a former member of the Alpine School District Board and Orem/Provo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was Mountainland Regional Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

He is chief operating officer and senior vice president of Xactware Solutions Inc. and holds a bachelor's in communications from BYU.

Evans and his wife, Tana, have lived in Orem since 1984.

"Our three children have enjoyed the benefits of many of the recreational opportunities afforded by Orem city, not to mention the premier children's library in the state," he said in applying for the position. "During my time on the council, I had the opportunity to work under three mayors and witness their different styles in leading the City Council."

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com, Twitter: SteveFidel