SALT LAKE CITY — After months of legal squabbling between Utah County and Gov. Gary Herbert, the newly restructured Utah Transit Authority is one step closer to getting a third trustee.
Kent Millington, the candidate named as part of a compromise between Herbert and Utah and Tooele counties, received an endorsement from a Senate committee on Monday.
Millington won't be sworn in on the new UTA board until after he's confirmed by the full Senate, expected later this month. But Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, told Millington he can begin working with the two other trustees and participate in board meetings. He just won't be able to vote until he's sworn in.
Millington pledged to lawmakers on the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Confirmation Committee on Monday he would work "very carefully" with other trustees on the new UTA board to address UTA's scandal-riddled past and bring reform to the agency.
"I am aware of those issues and commit to the committee and the Senate and to the state my full efforts to find good solutions to the issues and problems that are facing us," Millington said.
The Utah Legislature restructured UTA's board to a three-member commission after the agency became the subject of critical legislative audits that cited insider dealings, the subject of a federal investigation.
UTA signed a nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office in exchange for cooperating with the investigation and submitting to three years of federal oversight.
Millington's appointment came after Herbert rejected two nominees submitted by Utah County, prompting a lawsuit. The county petitioned for the Utah Supreme Court to compel Herbert to appoint one of its two nominees.
But Herbert fired back, asserting his power to reject the county's nominees and arguing Utah County did not properly include Tooele County in the nomination process.
Last month, Herbert and Utah and Tooele county leaders arrived at Millington's name as a compromise to represent both counties on the new UTA board.1 comment on this story
Millington, former chairman of the Utah Transportation Commission, joins two other UTA trustees already sworn in.
Carlton Christensen, a former Salt Lake City councilman who was serving as Salt Lake County's director of regional transportation, represents Salt Lake County. Beth Holbrook, former Bountiful City Councilwoman and former president of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, represents Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties.
Correction: An earlier version misidentified Utah and Tooele counties' appointee. His name is Kent Millington, not Brent Millington.