It’s Hard When Your Brother Leaves
Dec 19, 2014 02:36PM
● By Peter Worona
After 29 years of service to Sandy City, juggling his time among keeping the budget in check, working with residents, and making sure everything was done legally, City Council Executive Director Phil Glenn recently retired on Nov. 17.
Glenn’s position with the city involved working directly with the city council, acting as a liaison for the council with the mayor, chief administrative officer, business professionals, city officials and others. He also researched subjects of council interest and made sure everything was being done legally and with care.
He worked in Salt Lake City before coming to Sandy, which gave him institutional knowledge that helped prevent past pitfalls from happening again, Councilmember Steve Fairbanks said.
Council members have fond memories of Glenn, and they praised his ability to work with so many people simultaneously.
“He is such a remarkable person to be able to work with seven different personalities on a daily basis,” Linda Martinez-Saville said. “It would be hard to be somebody like Phil, because politically, he had to work with the administration, angry citizens and us seven. That poor man.”
Fairbanks cited Glenn’s ability to fairly and accurately represent “seven different bosses” as one of the reasons he was so valuable to the council.
“He’s been in a tough job,” Fairbanks said. “He’s had to find a way to navigate among the opinions of seven bosses, figure out what it is that we want, and make that clear to the administration. He was the one who met with the administration in their weekly meetings, and he was the one who represented the council. It put a lot of pressure on him, and he did it extremely well.”
Councilmember Chris McCandless said he considers Glenn family, and that it’s “hard when your brother leaves.”
“Phil is like a big brother,” McCandless said. “He had all the experience that I didn’t have, especially when I was first appointed to the city council. The only thing that I personally regret about our relationship is that time never permitted us to go fly fishing more, or skiing more, or do things on of a personal nature, because for me, Phil’s family.”
As a retirement gift, the council presented Glenn with an opaque projector that Saville found in her house, a perfect representation of one of their inside jokes.
“He loves to do everything on an opaque projector,” Saville said. “My husband and I were cleaning out our house, and I found an old one. It was like an antique from 40 years ago. We presented it to Phil for his retirement, and we put funny little sayings that he always said on it. We always tease him about the opaque projector, and now he has one.”
At his retirement get-together, Glenn’s sons, Sean, Damon and Cortney, shared some lessons that they had learned from their father over the years.
Some lessons were humorous, such as: “Keep everything. Nothing is too trivial to keep. Tax records from 40 years ago? Keep ‘em.”
Others were wise, like, “Lead through service. Influence through teamwork, reason, and a combined sense of purpose.”
Glenn said that he considers himself to be a very private person, and city council members and other city employees who know him have confirmed as much. He even refused an interview for this story, saying he doesn’t like being the center of attention.
“For some reason, it’s just painful for him to be in the spotlight,” Sandy City Chief Administrative Officer Byron Jorgenson said. “The farewell get-together was just a beautiful tribute, but he was embarrassed and mortified.”
Jorgenson said he’s heard that Glenn plans on spending more time with his family after retirement, in addition to helping his wife with her ceramics business.
Council members said several times that they are very pleased with Mike Applegarth, the new executive director that took over after Glenn retired, but that Glenn would be missed.
“We do have someone new, and he is so fantastic, and we’re so lucky to have picked such a great person to replace him, but Phil will truly be missed,” Saville said.
“[Phil] honestly is a genuinely, genuinely good guy, with a tremendous sense of ethics,” Fairbanks said. “We are going to miss Phil and his presence.”