Officials select new member for St. George City Council

ST. GEORGE — Bryan Smethurst was selected by the St. George City Council to fill the council seat left vacant by the death of his stepfather, Joe Bowcutt.

Bryan Smethurst is sworn in as the newest member of the St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Smethurst was one of 28 applicants interviewed by the City Council Monday. Prior to the special council meeting, each applicant submitted a resume and letter detailing why they should be appointed to fill the remainder of Bowcutt’s term, which ends in January 2022.

“My stepfather taught me community service,” Smethurst said during the three minutes he was given to speak before the council. “He has left me an awesome opportunity to carry on his legacy.”

Bowcutt died Aug. 31, which prompted the city of St. George to issue a public notice calling for residents to apply to fill the council vacancy. Thirty people originally applied, though one eventually withdrew their application and another didn’t show up for Monday’s special meeting.

According to his resume, Smethurst served 36 years with the Utah Army National Guard at the state level and deployed to Afghanistan, where he finished his career in the military as a Command Sergeant Major.

He currently works for Kustom Containers and has served as a volunteer with the St. George Lions Club and Dixie Ambulance.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike welcomes Bryan Smethurst to the City Council, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Smethurst said he can never fill Bowcutt’s shoes but will follow the legacy he created.

“I need to make my own way, and he would want that, too. So I think that’s the way I’m going to go — take his legacy and build on it,” Smethurst said. “I’ll look at the way our city needs to go and work with the council members and our community to figure out what best works for us.”

Moving forward, Smethurst said he will be leaning on his fellow council members as he gains his footing in his new position.

Smethurst became the majority pick among the council after two rounds of voting, though Councilman Ed Baca voted for different individuals both times.

“I believe he’s qualified,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said of Smethurst’s selection. “I think we will be very well served by Bryan.”

Pike and the rest of the council also praised the caliber of applicants who sought the council seat. Though they weren’t selected, the mayor encouraged the applicants to consider other ways they might serve the city, such as being a member of one of the city’s various citizen-filled committees.

St. George Mayor listens intently to one of the many applicants seeking to fill the late Joe Bowcutt’s City Council seat, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Narrowing down the applicants was a hard process, Councilwoman Michele Randall said. She reviewed the resumes that were sent in and came across many qualified people, but in the end it was Smethurst who won her vote.

“It’s a great fit,” she said. “I think he’ll work well with the council.”

Randall and fellow council member Jimmie Hughes said they “went with their gut” in regard to Smethurst, both ultimately feeling he was the best choice for the job.

“Bryan has the credentials and the community support, I think. It just felt right – right in the gut,” Hughes said.

Prior to the vote, Pike said the council had individually reviewed the applications the week before Monday’s meeting. Per state law, the council couldn’t meet collectively and deliberate beforehand, so Monday was the first time they were able to meet as a body to interview candidates face-to-face.

“I like that it’s a public process,” Pike said. “You can’t rehearse this stuff.”

The last time the city had to replace a council member was January 2014 when Pike became the mayor and vacated his former council seat.

At the time, 24 people applied for the seat, and Bette Arial was ultimately appointed to fill the seat. She later ran for the seat and was elected.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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