Robert Flowers

Salt Lake County is launching a nationwide search for a new emergency management coordinator after the current director stepped down after less than a year of service.

Robert Flowers had only been on the job since August 2007.

Flowers, who is also a former state public safety commissioner, stepped down to take a job as police chief in Ivins.

Ivins city leaders announced Tuesday that Flowers will take over as public safety director effective July 15. He replaces Wade Carpenter, who has been named Park City's new police chief.

In his Salt Lake County post, Flowers worked to prepare the bureaucracy of county government in case of an emergency, like setting up contracts with companies for supplies. He functioned in a confidential and key policy-making capacity in the county, providing input to the mayor and County Council in the formulation, preparation, coordination and implementation of policies and plans to respond to potential natural disasters, emergencies and other public safety crises.

Last month, Flowers led more than 70 people from Salt Lake County government to Emmitsburg, Md., to put their battle plan for a major disaster to the test. The trip was paid for by a federal grant.

"He'll be sorely missed," said Doug Willmore, the county's chief administrative officer.

Willmore said the county will kick off a national recruitment in the next week or so and that Flowers would help pick his successor.

Flowers had served as St. George's police chief prior to becoming Utah Department of Public Safety commissioner, overseeing security for the 2002 Olympics. Flowers left to become a regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

During his stint as Utah's commissioner of public safety, Flowers came under fire for logging 35,000 miles on his state vehicle in 2005, more than anyone else given a state car for personal use. Flowers was living in the St. George area at the time and commuted to the Wasatch Front for work.

Willmore said part of the reason Flowers left is because he was unable to sell his southern Utah home.


Contributing: Ben Winslow

E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com