Drake resigns to serve as mission president, replacement to be determined

Former Washington County Commissioner Denny Drake, St. George, Utah, undated | Image still courtesy of YouTube

ST. GEORGE – Earlier this week, county officials announced the resignation of Denny Drake from the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Drake has accepted a call to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas, which requires him to relocate for the tenure of his service. His resignation opens a temporary vacancy on the Board of Commissioners that could be filled by an interim appointee as early as next week.

“It’s been really great working with him,” Commissioner Alan Gardner said.

Gardner confirmed Drake is no longer in Washington County but is in northern Utah receiving instructions for his new position as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas.

Though he is out of the county, Drake’s resignation doesn’t officially take effect until 5 p.m. Monday.

The LDS Church announced the calling of new mission presidents the world over on Jan. 11 and listed Drake among them. He was named the new president of the Texas Houston East Mission and will succeed outgoing mission president Thomas J. Crawford. LDS mission presidents generally serve a period of three years. Drake was serving his second term on the County Commission when the church issued the call.

“He was a lot of fun to work with,” County Administrator Dean Cox said of Drake. He said Drake has always been positive and also has a knack for diplomacy.

“He’s a glass-half-full kind of guy and always a person with a lot of skill for diffusing a situation,” Cox said. “I felt he was a great ambassador for the county.”

Drake has filled many responsibilities in his position, including representing the County Commission by serving on various boards, Cox said. Such boards included those focused on solid waste, the shooting sports park, the county fair, homelessness and immigration issues.

“He had a wide variety of duties,” Cox said.

Prior to being elected to the County Commission, Drake served as the mayor of Santa Clara.

Nick Lang, chair of the Washington County Republican Party, has known Drake for several years and said he is “a fine fellow and a leader. He’s always been a very knowledgeable and listening guy.”

With Drake’s departure, it now falls to the Washington County Republican Party executive committee to select an interim appointee. The committee will meet Monday to review the state statute regarding interim appointments and make a selection accordingly, Lang said.

Once selected, the potential appointee will be submitted to the two remaining County Commissioners for ratification.

Drake’s vacated seat could be filled “as early as Tuesday,” Cox said, though he emphasized he doesn’t speak for the county party. When the next County Commission meeting takes place Tuesday at 4 p.m., the interim appointee could be approved by Commissioners Gardner and James Eardley. If an appointee hasn’t been chosen by that time, they’ll simply take care of it in the next County Commission meeting, Cox said.

Whoever is appointed to Drake’s seat will serve the remaining six months of his term. That person will then be succeeded in 2015 by whichever candidate for Commission Seat B is elected in November. The two who will vie for that position are: Democratic candidate and former Utah Attorney General Paul Van Dam and Republican candidate Victor Iverson, former natural resources adviser to Sen. Mike Lee.

A new commissioner will also fill Commission Seat A, currently held by Eardley, who lost the Republican nomination for the spot to Zackary Renstrom during the party’s county convention in April. Renstrom will face Democratic challenger Chris White for Seat A in November.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Tammy June 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Bless his heart…..

  • Sharp June 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Commissioner who? Mr Drake did not do anything during his short time as a commissioner. He was a sheep following Mr Eardley as Mr Gardner has done for years. It will be nice to have three voices in the County Commission in 2015 instead of the ONE we have had for the last 15 years. Goodbye Mr Eardley. I hope our two new commissioners are a bit more open minded while spending County dollars wisely.

    • Joe June 28, 2014 at 7:31 am

      haha, you truly are clueless

  • SSfreeze June 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Most public officials here in Utah are all part of the cult, none are open minded or free thinking. It’s sad that in this day and age so many people are still fooled by this crazy religion.

  • SSfreeze June 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Most public officials here in Utah are all part of the cult, none are open minded or free thinking. It’s sad that in this day and age so many people are still fooled by this crazy religion.

  • IN THE GAME June 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Denny had his heart in the right place, it’s just hard to make positive changes when you have to work with bullies like Eardley and Gardner.

  • Sharp July 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    IN THE GAME, I will agree with that. Heart in the right place, but he had a chance to have equal say against the bullies and passed. That is my point about three independent thinkers in the Commission. They should not play follow the leader, or bully in this case.

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