UTAH COUNTY — A new member of the Utah County Commission was chosen Saturday.
In a special election, Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner was selected by Utah County Republican Party delegates to fill the vacant seat left by former Commissioner Tanner Ainge.
Ainge announced his resignation last month after learning that his Utah National Guard training would create a temporary vacancy on the commission. He intended to continue to perform his commission duties remotely, but he failed to file a notice required by state law that would have allowed him to do so. Ainge was also appointed as a board member of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development the same day he announced his resignation.
"Thank you Utah County for your faith and confidence! I'm humbled and honored," a statement posted by Powers Gardner on Facebook read in part. "Now it is time to get to work and ensure Utah County is prepared for the overwhelming growth ahead."
Her post also included a screenshot showing the numbers from the election. Powers Gardner ran against eight other candidates in the ranked-choice election, in which she beat final runner-up Rod Mann by a vote of 204-169.
She is the first woman to serve on the Utah County Commission, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said in a tweet congratulating the new commissioner.
Ainge also congratulated Powers Gardner for winning the election, even calling it a "Big upgrade for Utah County."
"Excited to see her continue the same innovation and transformation she brought to the Clerk/Auditor’s office—but now to the county commission," Ainge wrote on Twitter.
Congrats and best of luck to @Amelia4Utah!
Excited to see her continue the same innovation and transformation she brought to the Clerk/Auditor’s office—but now to the county commission
Big upgrade for Utah County https://t.co/QoAMflELju
— Tanner Ainge (@TannerAinge) April 24, 2021
Powers Gardner was recently investigated for alleged workplace harassment of a gay employee in her office, who reportedly left the job for unrelated reasons.
She joins Tom Sakievich and Bill Lee on the county commission.
In the November 2020 election, Utah County voters had the option to replace the system of three commissioners with a county mayor and council, but they voted against the change.