Woytek to fill county council vacancy

Grand County Clerk-Auditor Chris Baird, right, administers the oath of office to newly appointed Grand County Council Member Gabriel Woytek. Photo by Doug McMurdo

Gabriel Woytek in a 4-2 vote was appointed to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Terry Morse from the Grand County Council.

Woytek was one of six final applicants who sat for a group interview with the council at Tuesday’s meeting. The others were developer William Hansen, Joe Kingsley, Marc Horwitz, Ken Minor and Eve Tallman. A seventh applicant, Ashley Korenblat, withdrew moments before the interview was conducted.

Morse resigned effective Nov. 6 after he and his wife moved out of District 1. Because more than two years remain in his term, Woytek will serve in 2020 and then the seat will be subject to an election, according to Grand County Clerk-Auditor Chris Baird.

Woytek said he has worked with several nonprofits in the community since moving here in 2009. He is currently the farm director at the Youth Garden Project. He said his primary focus in the past has been in education and affordable housing, including stints with the Housing Authority of Southeastern Utah and Community Rebuilds.

Will Hansen introduces himself to the Grand County Council during a group interview Tuesday. Photo by Doug McMurdo

He has also worked for Arches Education Center under the Grand County School District and the Moab Valley Multicultural Center.

Outside of the nonprofit sector, Woytek said he has worked in the tourism and home construction sectors. “I hold a well rounded perspective in the challenges and concerns that our residents face,” he said in his letter.

On a personal note, Woytek’s partner is KZMU station manager Serah Mead, with whom he has a daughter. He said he enjoys hiking and the “amazing array of events and activities in our area.”

“It would be an honor to offer my dedication and multifaceted skills to the Grand County Council,” he wrote.

Council Member Greg Halliday made the motion to appoint Woytek. Member Curtis Wells said he wouldn’t “have an issue with any of the candidates,” but that Woytek would not have been his first choice. He and Member Rory Paxman cast the no votes.

Woytek took his seat after Baird administered the oath of office.