Tooele County is fortunate to have had many good people serve in leadership positions in recent years. Unfortunately, being a good person and being a good leader are two very different things.
Leadership can take many forms. For Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy, it has meant restraint. Dunlavy has been a responsible steward of the public’s money during difficult economic times. He’s played the cards he was dealt, focusing on affordable-if-unglamorous infrastructure improvements rather than big capital projects catering to his ego or a narrow group of constituents.
For Tooele County Health Department director Myron Bateman, leadership has meant creativity. Bateman’s ability to secure federal funding for programs has largely spared his department from the sweeping layoffs and budget cuts that other county departments have faced. Bateman has also been an innovator in quickly responding to new health problems like diabetes and obesity as they arise with specific public outreach programs.
In the case of Stansbury Park Service Agency chairman Glenn Oscarson, leadership has meant having a long-range vision. Oscarson had the foresight and persistence to spearhead the creation of a cemetery for Stansbury Park that gives the maturing community another vital component in its development.
Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall, the Transcript-Bulletin’s Person of the Year, has many of the qualities listed above. But perhaps what most sets Marshall above other local leaders are the intangibles: He has a deep sense of humility. He freely admits when he’s made a mistake or doesn’t know something. Then he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work figuring things out and putting them right. He has almost single-handedly changed the culture of government in Grantsville simply by behaving like a public servant, rather than a lord — and outworking everyone who works for him.
Marshall also has thick skin. He’s not afraid of criticism, nor does he keep track of friends and enemies. He’s proven time and time again that he’s always willing to sit down with any reasonable person to sort out a problem. Even Tooele City officials have credited Marshall’s election as a key reason why the long-running Grantsville versus Tooele lawsuit got settled. He understands the ability to compromise is a strength, not a weakness.
Finally, when it comes to transparency, Marshall has no peers. His instinct is to divulge, not cover up. When an audit found his city’s website lacking in some information, he took immediate steps to remedy the problem. He pushes to keep all portions of city council work meetings and regular meetings open. He’s the first mayor in Grantsville history to write directly to residents monthly to tell them what the city is doing.
When it comes to government leaders in Tooele County, Brent Marshall sets the gold standard. He’s a great example of how one committed person can make a positive change in their community in just a short amount of time.