Brian Head hires town manager from Marsac Building ranks |

Brian Head hires town manager from Marsac Building ranks

Bret Howser's last day at the Marsac Building was Wednesday. He most recently had been assigned to strategic initiatives and previously handled budget matters. He will become the town manager in Brian Head, Utah. Christopher Reeves, Park Record
Bret Howser (Photo by: Christopher Reeves)

A City Hall staffer known for handling budget matters will leave the Park City government to become the town manager in the Southern Utah resort community of Brian Head.

Bret Howser’s last day at the Marsac Building was Wednesday. He starts in Brian Head on Tuesday. Howser is 33 years old. He has worked at City Hall for nearly nine years. He was a key member of the budget team as Park City enjoyed a booming economy in the years prior to the recession and then played a critical role as the municipal government navigated through the downturn in the economy.

"I’ve always had an interest in being a city manager," Howser said, adding that he also has a desire to work in resort communities.

He applied for the job in Brian Head in early March. City Hall announced his departure on Wednesday. Howser most recently had been assigned to City Hall’s strategic initiatives.

Howser said the Brian Head job will involve pursuing economic development opportunities. He said there is a chance for "smart economic development" there.

"They are interested in having me help them identify a vision . . . what they want to become over time," Howser said.

He said he will assist as Brian Head develops a manmade pond that will be used for waterworks and recreation purposes. He said there is the possibility of separate collaborations between the town government and Brian Head Resort.

Jim Ortler, a Town Councilor in Brian Head, said 34 people applied for the position. Howser will succeed a town manager who departed for a municipal job in West Jordan, Ortler said.

"He was clearly experienced. He talked about things he had done, projects he had worked on," Ortler said about Howser, noting his strength in analyzing budgets.

He said the city manager position in Brian Head offers the opportunity for growth.

Diane Foster, the Park City manager, said in a prepared statement Howser was a leader in City Hall’s financial planning.

"We will miss his quick wit and spontaneous singing. We wish Bret great success in this next chapter of his life," Foster said in the prepared statement.

City Hall does not have immediate plans to fill the position Howser held, Foster said in an interview. His duties will be split between other staffers.

A recruitment is planned starting soon for a person to succeed Foster as the deputy city manager. The results of that recruitment could influence decisions about the position Howser held, she said.

Howser is the most recent in a series of City Hall staffers to ascend to the position of city manager or town manager over the past decade. Officials have long said that the Park City government handles complex issues that prepare staffers for advancement.

Staffers who have advanced to become municipal chief executives include:

  • Foster, who held the deputy city manager position and had overseen City Hall’s green programs before recently becoming city manager
  • Tom Bakaly, who became the city manager in 2003 after rising through the ranks at the Marsac Building. He departed to become the city manager in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  • Michael Kovacs, who became the city manager in Galveston, Texas
  • Gary Hill, who became the city manager in West Point, Utah
  • Mark Christensen, who departed Park City to become the city manager in Washington Terrace, Utah
  • Frank Bell, who became the town manager in Crested Butte, Colo.

    Toby Ross, the Park City manager for 13 years ending in the fall of 2002, meanwhile, left Park City to become the city manager in West Sacramento, Calif.

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