When Mayor Patrick Dunlavy walked out of the mayor’s office at Tooele City Hall for the last time on Dec. 29, he left a legacy on Main Street and throughout the city that he and his family can be proud of.
In the wake of his retirement are 50 years of working for the city, in addition to being the only three-term mayor in the city’s 165-year history. Dunlavy started out at the Tooele City Police Department, where he worked for 11 years. After that, he served as the city’s finance director for a time, followed by nearly three years as the city’s director of parks and recreation.
After that, he served as Tooele City Recorder, a position he held for 23 years before winning his first four-year term as mayor in 2005. All of those life-defining accomplishments are notably impressive and speak of the man’s dedication to the community. And being elected three times to the city’s highest office also speaks of his continued popularity with, and support from, the voters.
All those years of experience, along with having worked for 10 different mayors and dozens of council members, perhaps made Dunlavy the most prepared mayor in the city’s history to run City Hall. But there’s more about Dunlavy that needs to be acknowledged before he sits down to watch reruns of “Gunsmoke” during retirement, which he jokingly said he would do during a farewell party last month.
Mayor Dunlavy brought a calm and assuring leadership style to his job. Never one for histrionics, he instead preferred to listen and understand instead of strive to be heard and understood. And when he spoke, he often was a voice of reason. Dunlavy also brought humility and gratitude to the mayor’s office.
Over the past 12 years, Dunlavy accomplished a lot. No city tax hike, while striving to maintain a high level of quality city services, sits high on the list. But his biggest achievement is pushing the city to the forefront of economic development, and working to create a culture of cooperation between cities and Tooele County for more retail and commercial growth.
Being a civil servant for the past 50 years, of course there are disappointments and mistakes Dunlavy experienced. The high profile lawsuit against Tooele Associates, not being able to secure a retail project at 1000 North Main, or creating sustainable retail improvement in Tooele’s historic district, come to mind.
But through it all, Dunlavy maintained a high level of transparency and poise. During a past interview, Dunlavy said he learned from the mistakes of past mayors.
“If you don’t want your community to have faith in you, and have confidence in you, then start keeping secrets,” he said. “When you are doing the right thing for the right reason, there is no reason not to tell people what is going on.”
Dunlavy lived by those words as Tooele City mayor, an acknowledgment few mayors will ever hear. Thank you, Mayor Dunlavy, for your dedicated years of service, and for “doing the right thing for the right reason.”