Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 19, 2013
Meet new Kanab City Manager Glen Vernon
Glen Vernon is an over-achiever. When most people reach the age of 72, they are kicking back and enjoying some well-earned retirement years.
But not Vernon! He’s taking on yet another challenge – managing Kanab City! Vernon has a long track record in this kind of behavior.
He and wife Lorraine (who lived briefly in Kanab years ago), have eight children and 30 grandchildren. Their married life has taken them to many interesting and sometimes remote places.
Glen’s educational and work life have also been a ledger for over-achievers. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Public Administration. And then, there’s also the University of Utah law degree he earned at the age of 49! “I got a wild hair, what can I say?” Admits Vernon, with a smile.
As for work experience, his cup runneth over. During law school and after getting his law degree, Vernon clerked for the Utah Attorney General. He held the (important) position as Budget Analyst for the State of Utah from 1969-1972, and a similar position for the Alaska Legislature from 1972 through 1976. He also was city manager in Roosevelt, Utah for four years, Payson for four years, and then on to...Alaska?
In Alaska, at the Lake Pennisula Burrough, his job was to again manage, this time at a place that covered around 30,000 square miles, with a population of 1700, who were scattered in 17 small villages – none of which were connected by roads!
“You had to fly or float to serve the communities,” said Vernon.
Glen and Lorraine left Alaska around 1993-1994, coming back to Utah. “We came back to Utah, where I managed the city of Santa Clara.”
But Alaska was apparently in their blood as well, because they next accepted a job in Anchorage for the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference. After a successful run there, he returned to Utah and served as city manager for Fairview, Utah.
Glen Vernon has lived a full life of work and adventure, so why would he want to be the Kanab City Manager?
“In part, I’ve had a taste of retirement, and it didn’t impress me. I wasn’t very good at it,” replied Vernon. “I enjoy taking a challenge and seeing how I can help improve things. I have the desire and energy to make things happen. We need to pull all stakeholders together, and work together cooperatively in a way that benefits everyone.”
“I’ve been a city manager for quite a few years in various settings, and as I look back, I realize that I could’ve done better,” said Vernon. “For me this is an opportunity to pull together my experiences and improve on what I’ve done before. I’ve traveled through Kanab many times throughout the years. For me, southern Utah has always been a magical place, and Kanab is right in the middle of it. Besides that, I grew up in the 1950’s on John Wayne and Jack Elam movies. My heros have always been cowboys. Kanab has a nice feeling,” said Vernon.
“I think the City Council hopes that I will bring some experience,” said Vernon, of the direction and relationship with the Kanab City Council. “I’m not a policy maker. My job is to find creative and constructive ways to implement policies established by the policy makers. I believe that Kanab has done a good job of defining a vision for itself and what it wants to be. I want to help make sure we don’t lose that vision or identity. We need to stay true to who and what we are: a ‘Shining Western Classic’ that only gets better the longer we work at it.”
Regarding the trend to a ‘metro’ approach (shared city/county services) that’s been apparent by Kanab City due to economics in the last year; i.e., Kanab Justice Court, Airport ... “I’m in favor of cooperation between the city and county wherever possible,” said Vernon. “We both serve so many of the same people.”
Vernon recognizes that Kanab has strong assets. “Beauty, location among parks, diversity of people with very different talent and abilities. We also have a good quality and supply of water. If we can create or find productive ways to work together, then we will be utilizing our greatest resource – people! “
As for liabilities ...“there sometimes seems to be a difference in perception that occasionally creates an undertow,” observes Vernon. “We need to understand that we have much more in common than differences. I try to live my life that way. There are always going to be conflicts and challenges, but we need to find what we have in common and build on those things.”
“Kanab’s economy has been based largely on tourism for a long time,” said Vernon, making note of its beauty, history and proximity to national treasures. “There are some opportunities to expand there. But we also need some clean industry. You have to play the hand your dealt, and fit that into your strengths, while seeking to minimize your weaknesses. You have to look at what’s real – you also have to imagine.”
Glen Vernon has defined his life by over-achieving, and now he has set his sights on Kanab. “My hope is that I can help facilitate some great things happening.”