Summit County communications manager announces resignation
Julie Booth will take on a new communications positions later this month
May 9, 2017
When there is a brush fire, flood or other emergency in Summit County, the citizens are notified through several different media platforms. Since 2013, the person behind that network has been Julie Booth.
Before Booth was hired, the county had recognized that there was a gap in their communications with the community. As part of the County Council's strategic planning process, one of their goals was to engage an informed citizenry.
Booth, a Utah native, said she was intrigued by the prospect of a newly created communications position and left her job in in Washington, D.C., to return home.
"The job description was pretty light and it just called for engaging citizens and communicating with them," Booth said. "It had an emergency communication component to it and I really took advantage of that."
Booth saw the county through several different emergency situations, including the fire at Rockport Reservoir in 2013.
Almost exactly four years later, Booth has decided to resign from her position, effective May 23. Booth announced her intentions this week.
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Booth said she is stepping down to become the communications manager for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. She said the company oversees the electrical grid for the western United States. She and her family will continue living in Park City.
"First of all, it was time," Booth said. "I was happy to build the position up and create a presence for the county in the communities, but with this position you are on call 24 hours a day. I wanted something with less responsibility and this new position presented itself to me and it is a perfect fit."
While on board, Booth has put the county on five social media platforms and revamped the county website. She said the county averages 50,000 views on Twitter and Facebook monthly.
"I wanted to create something that was just two clicks for the public," Booth said. "We set an alert module and then I took the county out to where most of the citizens are and that's on social media."
Within Booth's first few weeks on the job, the Rockport Reservoir fire occurred. The five-day event kept Booth on duty 24 hours a day.
"Life safety is always the first response and our first responders were there trying to make sure everyone was OK and then they were trying to save structures for the next five days," Booth said. "It was just a great lesson in how we can work together with other agencies locally and on the state level to address an issue. For counties, their reputation rests on how they handle an incident like that and we needed to make sure we got it right."
Two weeks after the fire, the county began its Truth in Taxation hearings regarding the municipal rate fund.
"Luckily, it passed, but we did a lot of outreach and communication in that regard to make sure the public was heard," Booth said. "During my second year, there was another Rockport fire and then later that year we had a credit card breach with our fairgrounds ticket vendor and it caused a lot of heartburn."
For her efforts in communicating during the Rockport Reservoir fire, the county placed in the top 10 for counties under 150,000 for the 2015 Digital Counties Survey awards. The survey provides an annual measure of county performance and innovation in using technology.
"As difficult as this job can be at times, it has been so rewarding for me to be able to build this up in my home state where I love Utahns and I love this area," Booth said. "I felt privileged to be the first person to build this up. The County Council is outstanding and they are probably some of the brightest individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. We also have some fantastic employees that work very hard for the citizenry here."
The county's communications manager position will be posted internally for one week, before it is posted to the public. County Manager Tom Fisher will be responsible for the hiring.