San Juan County Administrator Kelly Pehrson has resigned his position and accepted a post as Deputy Director of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Pehrson resigned in the past week and hit the ground running in his new position. He will finish his six years of service to the area next week.
Pehrson will serve as deputy to Kerry Gibson, who was recently appointed as the new director of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food following the retirement of LuAnn Adams.
“I am pleased to have someone of Kelly’s ability and caliber join our team,” said Gibson. “He brings a wealth of government management expertise, a track record for pragmatic decision making, and the capacity to elevate UDAF administrative functions.”
Pehrson, a Monticello native, returned to San Juan County in July 2010 when he accepted a position as Monticello City Manager.
In March 2013, he accepted a position as administrator for San Juan County.
The past six years have been remarkably busy for San Juan County. Pehrson has been involved in just about every issue in the county during that time, including public lands issues culminating in the designation and downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument, court challenges to voting rights, and the ongoing challenges of administering services to a diverse population over a large area.
The job has been particularly challenging in recent months, with issues related to the new directions and policies sought by a new county commission.
Pehrson said accepting the position was a very difficult decision. “I never had intentions to leave Monticello,” said Pehrson. “I wasn’t even looking, but I got a call two weeks ago asking about the appointment.”
Pehrson added that becoming deputy director of the Department of Agriculture is a great opportunity.
“I look forward to adding my skill set and experience to this incredible department,” said Pehrson.
Duties of the deputy director include oversight of budgets, human resources, and other administrative functions.
Prior to the new appointment, Gibson served as deputy director for the Department of Natural Resources. He served as a commissioner for Weber County and in the Utah House of Representatives.
During his time as a state representative, Gibson was the chair of the Natural Resources Appropriations Committee, where he oversaw the state budget for the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Food, amongst others.
“Kerry Gibson is extraordinarily well prepared to serve as commissioner for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “His experience as a legislator, a county commissioner, and especially as a dairy farmer himself, will serve him well as he works with Utah’s farmers, ranchers, and other important members of our agricultural community.”
Gibson has a San Juan County connection as his daughter is married to Spencer Bradford, originally from Blanding.