THUMBS UP

A new study put out by the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University shows that females occupy 42.5% of all supervisory, managerial and executive leadership positions at the county government level in Utah. While not perfect, that’s a commendable number that shows Utahns aren’t afraid to diversify their county workforces and select the best man — or woman, as the case may be — for the job.

According to figures published in the study, 11 of Utah’s 29 counties surpassed the statewide average, including two in Northern Utah: Morgan County (42.9%) and Davis County (43.3%). The largest female representation was recorded down in Emery County, where a startling 73.6% of leadership roles are filled by women. (Even little ol’ Rich County has an even split between genders: six guys, six ladies.)

Unfortunately, two other Northern Utah counties lag behind that mark. Numbers cited in the study indicate Weber County’s female leadership representation is just 26.8% — seventh lowest in the state — with Box Elder County lower still at 21.3%. Those percentages can and should be higher.

The study doesn’t draw conclusions for why some areas have such a dearth of women leaders. It’s easy to look at the data and assume discrimination is at play. That determination can’t be made without further analysis. The reason may well be benign, such as a lack of qualified female applicants.

Whatever the cause, there’s clearly room for improvement. As the study states, diverse workplaces “will be in a better position to more effectively deal with the complex challenges that face our communities ... (and) county leaders will benefit by encouraging creative solutions that consider a variety of experiences and perspectives.”

You can find a link to the study at usu.edu/uwlp.

THUMBS UP

Word is out that Utah is moving closer to securing its second veterans cemetery.

Local military booster Terry Schow, former executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, informed the Standard-Examiner recently that a landowner indicated a willingness to donate a 25-acre plot north of Interstate 84 in the southeast Ogden area — free of charge — to the project, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seems willing to give the green light.

The VA operates 136 cemeteries in 40 states and Puerto Rico, but just one in Utah, in Bluffdale along the Salt Lake/Utah County line. (Color us surprised there aren’t more.)

Considering the abundance of veterans residing in the Beehive State — some 40,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures — there’s sure to be interest by relatives of those who give their lives, put their lives at risk or otherwise serve their country.

Another veterans cemetery would further serve to honor their legacies.

THUMBS UP

A tip of the hat to U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams for his backing of a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at improving access to mental health services countrywide, especially in rural and low-income communities.

The Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act, introduced by Republican lawmaker John Katko of New York, now has 34 cosponsors. It has yet to see a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. But once it does, we hope others see the benefit — like McAdams did — in strengthening resources in this critical and delicate area.

The bill would create a loan forgiveness program for students who earn a degree and go on to work as behavioral or mental health specialists in rural or low-income areas over a six-year period, according to McAdams.

But while those populations are often the ones with the fewest options for care, mental health crises are commonplace in every community, as evidenced by a 2019 report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah which found that nearly one in five adults in Utah “experience poor mental health.”

The stigma of mental health disorders is rightly fading. This bill deserves strong consideration from Congress and we urge its passing.

THUMBS DOWN

Work it out already.

Ogden residents’ recyclables have been getting trashed for going on six months, and it’s beyond time that’s rectified. Standard-Examiner readers overwhelmingly have expressed dissatisfaction at the situation and have called for recycling to resume.

It’s one small, simple step every person can take to reduce the waste we accumulate, and if it means paying a little extra in fees to make it happen, so be it.

The important thing is that a deal is struck sooner rather than later. Just get it done.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!