SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert's newest appointee to the Board of Regents, Wilford Clyde, won the endorsement of a Senate confirmation committee Monday — pending a change in the law so he can serve.
At issue is a 2010 law requiring that two of the 15 members of the board that oversees the state's higher education system to live outside metropolitan areas as of Sept. 30.
The governor believed he'd met that requirement earlier this year, when he named Mark Stoddard of Nephi to serve on the board, which already included a rural representative, John Zenger of Midway.
But it turns out because of the way the law is written, Nephi is considered part of the Provo/Orem metropolitan area. So is Springville, where Clyde, the president and CEO of Clyde Companies, is mayor.
The solution? Mike Mower, the governor's deputy of staff, suggested to members of the Senate Education Confirmation Committee that the law be changed to make it clear that Nephi is not a metropolitan area.
That could happen as soon as next month, when the governor has announced he is calling lawmakers into special session beginning Oct. 3 to approve new congressional, legislative and state school board boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, initially questioned that approach. "What is our flexibility in this situation," he asked. "We're not above the law."
The committee chairman, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said if members didn't want to ignore the law they could ask for another nominee who met the requirement — or back a change.
Just what that change will be is yet to be determined, but the committee voted to support a fix that will allow the state's smaller counties, including Juab, to be seen as rural.
Clyde, who emphasized the need for technical job training to be available at the state's colleges, was recommended by the committee for confirmation by the full Senate, pending the change in the law.
The Brigham Young University accounting graduate said his road construction business has benefited in the past by partnering with Salt Lake Community College to train drivers of concrete trucks.
"I think sometimes we build kind of a class system into our society, and for some reason think technical training jobs are not as prestigious," Clyde said.
"These people really have skills that sometimes we, who maybe have academic training, don't have."