Former Summit County Sheriff named director of Utah Communications Authority
Former Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds will soon be taking over as the director of the Utah Communications Authority while it attempts to bounce back from an embezzlement scandal earlier this year.
Last week, the Utah Communications Authority (UCA) board announced that Edmunds had accepted the position with the independent state agency. He will start on Sept. 12.
After spending nearly two years as the chief executive officer for Rocky Mountain Security Services Inc., Edmunds said he is ready to reenter the public sector, adding that “it is my natural habitat.”
“That is where my passion lies and it was an easy to decide to go back,” Edmunds said. “I always anticipated that I would, but I was just waiting for the right opportunity and this one came along and I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to get back into public service.”
The UCA, formerly the Utah Communications Agency Network, supports radio communications throughout the state for various agencies, including fire districts, police departments and emergency responders. Edmunds will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations.
Edmunds said he will be working with the Legislature to ensure the agency receives adequate funding to ensure emergency agencies have the tools they need to communicate. He said the relationships he established while serving as sheriff for three-terms and president of the Utah Sheriff’s Association will help him lead the organization.
However, Edmunds said his new role will be very different than when he led the sheriff’s office. Edmunds admits he had a reputation for being tough and was known for his aggressive tactics.
“Despite some sentiments to the contrary, I am a participative leader,” he said. “I now have to work with a board and I have been working with a board for the last 20 months. I understand that there is give and take and I will be trying to please 25 people. Toughness can be asset in making sure the agency is run tightly and there aren’t any more issues.”
Over the last several months, the board has implemented several personnel and policy changes in the wake of the interagency scandal. Earlier this year, an administrative employee and her daughter admitted to embezzling approximately $1 million. The scandal resulted in the resignation of longtime director Steven Proctor.
“The reality is it is a highly functional organization, but at the end of the day they had a scandal,” Edmunds said. “We are going to make sure that that doesn’t happen again. We will make sure we have the appropriate auditing practices where they need to be and will be watching that very closely so we can reestablish trust with the state and the Legislature.”
Tina Mathieu, chair of UCA board, said Edmunds was selected because of his experience and record as a “strong leader,” which, she added “is what the UC needs right now.” Edmunds will report to the 25-member board.
“He (Edmunds) has a strong ability to bridge the gap and be a relationship-builder, which is what we need right now,” Mathieu said. “Over the last four of five months we have been very aggressive about making significant changes and we now have a director to take on the new policies and procedures.
“We did have an employee that made some deliberate and horrible choices, but we are very committed to the purpose of the UCA and we have not failed in that regard,” she said. “We definitely need to put the financial people in place and get Dave in there to prove that by his actions.”