ST. GEORGE — Washington City officially welcomed its new city manager during a City Council meeting Thursday.
Jeremy Redd, who was hired as the new city manager following the resignation of former City Manager Roger Carter, was given the opportunity to briefly introduce himself to the public at the start of the council meeting.
Redd opened with a joke, saying it’s a miracle his marriage has lasted 23 years, considering how many city meetings – which can last for several hours – he has sat in on over the years.
Prior to becoming the new city manager, Redd served as the city manager of Blanding for eight years and also as the city’s financial director for five years before that.
Redd is also a father of three children, one of whom is still at home while the other two attend Southern Utah University. Redd has a master’s degree in human resource management and a bachelor’s degree in business information systems, both from Utah State University.
Overall, he said that he is looking forward to getting to know and serve the people of Washington City and that “it’s been a great two weeks” since starting the new job.
Prior to Redd’s brief introduction in the council meeting – which was done over Zoom due to COVID-19 precautions – he spoke with St. George News about what drew him to Washington City and what challenges may be in store.
He said there were “only a few places” he would have considered living instead of Blanding.
“Washington City was at the top of the list,” he said. “It’s because of the growth. It’s a wonderful place to live. It’s a fantastic lifestyle here.”
He cited the lifestyle – including the abundance of outdoor recreation – as “the reasons everyone else is moving here from everywhere else.”
A big difference between Blanding and Washington City, however, is the size. Blanding has a population of nearly 3,700 people, while Washington City is pushing 30,000.
“With as much as things are different, city government has a lot of similarities,” Redd said, adding he has enjoyed the challenge of familiarizing himself with all the city staff and facilities. Overall, though, his new job isn’t much different from the one he just left.
“As much as things are different, they feel the same,” he said.
Like other cities in Washington County, Washington City is dealing with continuing growth, which can and has put a squeeze on the city’s infrastructure and services.
“That’s something we can work on and continue to work on,” Redd said.
Despite the growth and being over eight times the size of Blanding, Redd said Washington City still has a small town feel to it.
“Even though it is a big city and has lots of residents, they still do things in a way that feel like a small town – that gives some history and culture of a small community,” he said. “So as much as they are different, they feel the same, and that’s what I really liked about Washington.”
While some people may find it strange, Redd said he enjoys working in city government, citing the beneficial impact it can have on the lives of residents.
“It’s what I do and what I enjoy doing because you actually get to affect the lives of the residents whether they know that you have or not,” he said. “Helping to make their lives better is really rewarding to me.”
When the City Council voted to select Redd as the new city manager in a special meeting held Oct. 8, he wasn’t the first choice of some of the council members. Some members had hoped to extend the job offer to Matt Loo, the city’s current economic development director. Loo withdrew his name just before the council was to vote on the matter, leaving them to select Redd instead.
Mayor Ken Neilson said at the time that he believed Loo withdrew his name from consideration due to a growing wedge between council members concerning his residency. Loo lives in St. George, and city code requires the city manager live in Washington City. Differences of opinion on the council over the use and possible amending of the code were evident during the council’s Oct. 8 meeting.
Redd said he wasn’t bothered by what happened.
“It’s politics, and not everyone always agrees in politics.”
Since moving to Washington City and taking on the new job, Redd has met with each member of the council and said he feels they are moving in the same direction.
“It doesn’t matter to me as much how we got here, as long as we’re all on the same page,” he said.
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