Gary Gregerson looks very much at home surrounded by law books in the Provo City Law Library. But being a lawyer is just one of many things Gregerson does well.
"Gary Gregerson is one of the very best city attorneys in the state of Utah," said Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins. "We are very fortunate to have him."Besides a legal background, Gregerson also has a financial background. He worked his way through law school by doing real estate appraisals for the Veterans Administration, said Jenkins. "He's really a self-made man."
Gregerson married right out of high school. He joined the Navy and he and his wife lived in Japan for two years. When he got out of the service, he began his schooling at the University of Utah, earning a bachelor of science degree in banking and finance.
Law school came next. His family expanded to four children by the time he graduated. "My wife was always very supportive," Gregerson said.
Gregerson practiced law in northern California, becoming a partner in a law firm before he decided to move to Utah. In 1986, he became Provo's city attorney.
"Provo City is my client," said Gregerson. He spends much of his day busy with administrative work. The office has three other full-time attorneys as well as three part-time investigators and two secretaries.
Gregerson meets often with department heads and advises them on legal matters concerning their departments.
To avoid possible legal problems, Gregerson teaches or arranges seminars on special topics, such as the dangers of sexual harassment. Greger-son said the city practices "preventive law."
The office also takes a supporting role in accomplishing stratetic goals set by Mayor Joe Jenkins when he took office - the first goal being to take pride in Provo.
The first year, Provo looked into the landfill problems. A landfill should be a nice mound, not a mountain, Gregerson said. "How can a city have pride when they can't take care of their own garbage?"
Gregerson and other city officials speak of the new landfill with pride. A consultant was hired from Washington, D.C., to make sure the landfill exceeded environmental standards. The landfill is now one of the best in the country.
Revision of the franchise and utility laws was a major undertaking by the legal office. Assistant City Attorney Robert West worked on it off and on all through 1990. Gregerson describes cable TV and the ordinance revision as the most recent big challenge faced by his department.
TCI Cablevision of Utah's franchise with the city of Provo expired after 25 years Dec. 31. Cable service is continuing on an extension basis. The city's new ordinance helps direct negotiations with the cable company.
The big project for 1991 is to make legal documents of interest to the public accessible while at the same time preserving the documents for future use, Gregerson said.
"In my opinion, and I've been in business in many areas, Provo City department heads are amazingly competent for the money they're paid," Gregerson said. "I'm impressed with the quality of the men and women we get.
"I think (Mayor Jenkins) is the best thing that's happened to Provo. When I moved here in 1978, my impressions was that Provo City was anemic."