ST. GEORGE – Former county administrator Dean Cox was sworn in as a member of the Washington County Commission Tuesday in a ceremony held at the start of a regular commission meeting.
Cox, who replaces outgoing commissioner Alan Gardner, edged out Gil Almquist in a very close Republican primary in the June 28 primary election and went on to beat unaffiliated challengers Josh Warburton and Greg Aldred in the general election with 74.3 percent of the vote.
Cox expressed appreciation to the other county commissioners and city and county officials who he said have set a high mark for him.
“I pledge that I will do my very best to uphold the pledge that I just took,” Cox said, “and do this service for the citizens of the county to the very best of my ability.”
Although newly elected, Cox is no stranger to county issues.
“It’s great to have Dean official, as our new county commissioner,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said.
“Dean comes in with great experience, of course, having been the administrator for the county for many years and in emergency preparedness and management before that.”
Cox retired in August after three decades of first volunteering and then working for the county; he served as county administrator since 2009.
“We’ve worked with Dean, we know Dean, I’m confident that he’ll hit the ground running and that we’ll have a great relationship between the cities, specifically the city of St. George, of course, and Washington County,” Pike said.
Cox first volunteered as the county emergency communications director in 1986, then started a part-time paid position as emergency management coordinator in 1991. That position became full-time in 2003.
Cox helped found a regional hazmat coordination team and has chaired the state emergency management advisory board.
Cox’s experience will be a real benefit to the county, Commissioner Victor Iverson said.
“He’s proven over his years of service in this county that he can really lead, from day one,” Iverson said. “So this is kind of exciting, it’s good news.”
“I think he’s going to do a really good job.”
Cox has been assigned responsibility for the commission’s role in the Habitat Conservation Plan, he said.
“Our HCP expired, we’ve been running under a letter of extension,” Cox said.
“But we need to bring some resolution to that so that we can move on with plans for how the habitat can best be administered for the (desert) tortoise and at the same time that we can have utility corridors and things like that to meet the needs of people who live in Washington County,” he added.
Cox is also excited to work with the Sheriff’s Office on a proposed new county animal shelter planned for property adjacent to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. The project would utilize inmate labor to build and maintain, and offer inmates a chance to care for and train animals.
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