Budget chief will depart
Gary Hill, the City Hall budget chief, will leave the local government to become the city manager in the Wasatch Front city of West Point, continuing a string of Marsac Building officials who have advanced to top-level positions elsewhere.
Hill, who is 34 years old and lives in Prospector, has worked at City Hall for eight years, rising from an intern position in the pre-2002 Winter Olympic era to one of the local government’s pivotal staffers.
"That’s exciting because everyone wants to be involved in a situation where they can help determine the ultimate nature of their community," Hill said about being named a city manager, adding that becoming a city manager has been a goal of his.
He plans to leave City Hall in mid-September, and he starts the West Point job at the end of September. West Point, which Hill described as "a hidden gem," is in the northern reaches of Davis County. Hill described the city as being on the verge of becoming metropolitan after spending most of its existence as a rural and bedroom community. About 12,000 people live in West Point.
Hill said West Point leaders over the next decade will make decisions that will influence the next 70 years, including choices about expanding the Legacy Highway northward. If that occurs, the highway would travel through West Point, Hill said.
John Petroff, the mayor of West Point, said Hill has a good reputation in Utah, and leaders there were excited he applied for the job. About 25 people, mostly from Utah, applied for the job, Petroff said.
"It just seems like he has a broad knowledge of local government," Petroff said, adding, "We look at him as being a natural talent."
Petroff mentioned the Legacy Highway expansion as being a key issue for the West Point government. Transportation improvements crucial to further developing the West Point economy, the mayor said.
City Councilors in West Point also want Hill to boost the professionalism of the government and expand parks and recreation offerings, Petroff said.
Hill will follow others from the Marsac Building who have left to become chief executives in cities elsewhere. They include Frank Bell, who was the longtime police chief before directing City Hall’s planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics. He became the town manager in Crested Butte, Colo., following the Olympics. Mark Christensen, who managed the Marsac Building budget, became the city manager of Washington Terrace, a city in Weber County.
Meanwhile, Park City Manager Tom Bakaly ascended to his position after directing the budget and capital projects, among other jobs he held at the Marsac Building before being named city manager.
Officials in Park City have long said working for City Hall stands out on a resume, with staffers regularly handling complex issues related to growth, tourism and the environment.
Hill also manages City Hall’s grants programs. He helped direct the Planning Department earlier in 2008 before City Hall’s recent hiring of Tom Eddington Jr. as the Planning director.
Hill’s pending departure comes amid significant turnover at City Hall, with retirements and career moves taking years of combined experience. Others who have left include Police Chief Lloyd Evans, Planning Director Pat Putt and City Engineer Eric DeHaan.
Hill said he will miss the people who work for City Hall, and he enjoys the challenges of government work in a resort community like Park City. Hill said he is "extremely fortunate" to have worked in Park City, listing his role in the financial side of the Park City Ice Arena, open space bonds and improvements downtown as being among his projects he is pleaded with.
"Bittersweet," is how he described leaving City Hall.
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