Eric Clarke sworn in as acting County Attorney; commission bids farewell to Belnap

ST. GEORGE — Eric Clarke was sworn in as the interim Washington County Attorney on  Tuesday following the County Commission’s recognition of former County Attorney Brock Belnap.

Former Washington County Attorney Block Belnap tells the Washington County Commission that he will cherish his time and memories with the county. Belnap resigned earlier this month to join the Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George, Feb. 18. 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We’d like to celebrate Brock’s service to the county today,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said as he introduced a resolution praising Belnap’s time in office.

The County Commission announced Belnap’s sudden resignation earlier this month.

Belnap, who has worked at the Washington County Attorney’s Office for 23 years, including 17 years as the county’s top lawyer, took a job at the Washington County Water Conservancy District. He told St. George News he felt it was time for a change yet thought hard about whether he should apply to the position that had recently opened at the water district.

Belnap has been made an associate general manager of the water district under General Manager Zachary Renstrom. A large part of his new duties are related to the Lake Powell Pipeline Project.

“I will cherish every day and every memory, and its harder than I thought to let go, but I’m excited about the new opportunity I am undertaking,” Belnap said.

(L-R) Acting Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke, Washington County Commissioners Dean Cox, Victor Iverson, Gil Almquist, and former Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap, St. George, Feb. 18. 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Belnap added that his life has been “blessed” by his time with the county, particularly in his personal life. He recalled how he met his future wife the first day on the job at the County Attorney’s Office. She was a secretary to the County Commission at the time.

One of the best decisions Belnap said he ever made as County Attorney was hiring Eric Clarke 10 years ago.

“He turned out to be a fantastic addition to the county, and you know how wonderful his service has been,” Belnap said to the commission. “I don’t think there could have been a better person to take over the County Attorney’s Office.”

The County Commission expressed their own appreciation for Belnap’s service and presented him with a plague and a gift of running shoes. Iverson said many people are aware that Belnap likes to run, so the shoes felt like an appropriate parting gift.

Eric Clarke (left) being sworn in as acting Washington County Attorney by Washington County Clerk/Auditor Kim Hafen, St. George, Feb. 18. 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Clarke was sworn in as the acting county attorney afterward. He was appointed to the position by the commission soon after news of Belnap’s resignation was announced. Tuesday’s ceremony made the appointment official.

Though the county sent a notice to all deputy county attorneys that they could apply for the position, Clarke was the only one who applied. He submitted a letter outlining why he was the best choice for the job along with letters from colleagues echoing that opinion.

“I’ve been very impressed,” Commissioner Dean Cox said of working with Clarke over the last year.

Both Cox and Iverson said Clarke is able to help take the commission into constructive discussions versus emotion-driven responses to the issue of the day.

Though he will serve as acting County Attorney until a new one is elected to finish the last two years of Belnap’s term, Clarke has also announced his intent to run for the position.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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