Winners announced in Sutherland Institute transparency contest

We received a lot of great entries in’s “Most Obscure Board” contest. Spencer Hall was the winner of our $100 prize by identifying the “American Fork City Egg Farm Economic Development Project Area Taxing Entity Committee” as one of the “most obscure boards” in the state.

“This committee must be obscure because if its creators and members weren’t chicken about letting people know about it, the citizenry would cry fowl and the brood behind the committee, over bureaucratic squawking, could no longer feather their own nests and would end up with egg on their faces and be forced to fly the coop or face the frying pan. A committee such as this surely, I hope, would not withstand scrutiny if it were not obscure.”

A great, witty explanation. Thanks for your entry, Mr. Hall.

We also would like to recognize a few other great entries in the contest as honorable mentions.

Jerome Borden nominated the Utah Digital Health Service Commission, and in his entry citation, suggested the title is ambiguous. “Does it have to do with computers (1s and 0s) or fingers (digits)?” Borden asked.

Kevin Anderson nominated the Turkey Marketing Board, asking “who would think we need a board to review the use of funds for marketing the sales of turkey?”

Turkey isn’t the only food being marketed in Utah, as Kenneth Prigmore points out. He selected the “Sweet Cherry Marketing Board” as his nomination. “Why do sweet cherries need their own board? … Isn’t this going a little overboard to focus on just one fruit?” Prigmore was sure to point out in his nomination that according to, the seven-member board gets paid an average of $568 a year.

Brandon Witte suggested the Heritage Trees Advisory Committee as being one of the more obscure in the state. “There are far more productive things that we could be doing with our money rather than paying people who are certified to categorize trees,” Witte wrote.

Deborah Barlow gets our last mention for “honorable mention.” She nominated the Mapleton City “Shade Tree Commission.”

In her words, Barlow said, “I think that this board is rather obscure because their purpose could easily be implemented by the parks board in the city. If they are concerned with private citizens’ landscaping then they are going way beyond the proper role of government.”

These are just a few of the hundreds of boards that exist in the cities and counties throughout Utah, not to mention those operated at the state level. You can go to and find out more about the boards in your community, including how much members get paid to sit on those boards.

Thanks to all who participated in our contest.