UIRC Commission Members

Rex Facer Headshot

Rex L. Facer II

Rex L. Facer II is Associate Professor of Public Management in the George Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business where he teaches in the Master of Public Administration program. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Facer has been actively engaged as a scholar. His published research has focused on public sector pay, alternative work schedules, municipal annexation, and local public finance.

In addition to his scholarship Facer, has been involved in public service in a variety of ways. He has served in several leadership capacities in professional organization, such as American Society for Public Administration and its Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations (SPALR). Facer also served on NASPAA’s Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation for three years, including a year as chair; the Commission is the accrediting body for master’s degree programs in public administration.

In October 2010 President Barack Obama appointed Facer to the U.S. Federal Salary Council where he served until December 2017. Since 2013 Facer has been involved with a UNDP project in Kazakhstan. The goal of the Astana Civil Service Hub is to civil service practice throughout Central Asia and in Countries of the Former Soviet Union.

In 2019 he served as the Vice-Chair of the Utah County Good Governance Advisory Board, which was created to assess the form of government for Utah County. Facer also lectures and consults internationally on human resource management and other issues.

Christine Durham

Christine Durham

Christine Durham retired from the Utah Supreme Court in 2017, after serving as a Justice for 35 years and as Chief Justice and Chair of the Utah Judicial Council for 10 of those years. She currently co-chairs Utah’s Coordinating Committee on Access to Justice and the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Before joining the Utah Supreme Court, she served on the state trial court after a number of years in private practice. She received her B.A. with honors from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Duke University.

Durham is past president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States and also past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the entity that accredits American law schools. She is an emeritus member of Duke University’s Board of Trustees, the Council of the American Law Institute, and the Board of Overseers for the Rand Corporation’s Institute for Civil Justice. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and served on the governing boards of the American Inns of Court Foundation, the Appellate Judges Conference of the ABA, the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession, the Federal Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, and is past president of the National Association of Women Judges.

Durham has been active in judicial education. She was a founder of the Leadership Institute in Judicial Education and recently served on the ABA’s President’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. She also served on the Advisory Board for the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Project of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at Denver University and is currently on the Board of Trustees of University of the People, an accredited tuition-free online institution (www.UoPeople.edu). She helped create and lead the Utah Coalition for Civic Character and Service Education and served on the Utah Commission on Civic Education. She taught state constitutional law for many years at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, and served for twelve years on the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission. She has received honorary degrees from five Utah universities and has been recognized nationally for her work in judicial education and efforts to improve the administration of justice.

Among others honors, in 1997Durham was the National Association of Women Judges’ Honoree of the Year; in 2007 she received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence; in 2008 she received the “Transparent Courthouse” Award for contributions to judicial accountability and administration from the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System at the University of Denver; and in 2012 she received the Eighth Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence from the American Judicature Society.

Karen Hale Headshot

Karen Hale

Karen Hale has worked to support and strengthen communities through her involvement in municipal, county and state government, and community organizations.

Karen was director of special initiatives for Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and, under Mayor Ben McAdams, served as Salt Lake County Deputy Mayor of Community and External Affairs. Prior to her work at the county, Karen served as Director of Community Relations and Communications Director to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

Elected to the Utah State Senate in 1998, Karen was a steady, passionate voice for public and higher education and the safety and health of Utah families. Karen’s legislation added several components to Utah’s graduated driver licensing system for young drivers, including passenger limitation. Through legislation, Karen was proud to help pave the way for the establishment of a statewide organ donor registry and creation of a tax donation check-off to fund maintenance of the donor registry and donor education. Her continued support of donor and recipient issues has enhanced awareness and helped to increase the availability of lifesaving transplant organs. Karen retired from the State Senate after two terms, in 2006.

In 2004, Karen shared the ticket with gubernatorial hopeful Scott Matheson, Jr. as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Karen was also the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the year 2000, running with former Utah Congressman Bill Orton.

Karen is actively engaged in the community through participation on boards that include Intermountain Healthcare; Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation; the Natural History Museum of Utah; Utah Film Center; and Donor Connect.  She served as co-chair of the Utah Debate Commission, a non-partisan, independent sponsor of debates for qualified candidates for statewide and federal offices, and a joint sponsor with the University of Utah of the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate in Salt Lake City. Karen is the recipient of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; the University of Utah College of Nursing Dare to Care Award; the Utah State Bar Distinguished Community Member Award; and the Utah Democratic Party Eleanor Roosevelt Award.

Karen is the former publisher and editor of Parent Express, a news and resource magazine for Utah families. She and her husband Jon are the parents of five children and grandparents to ten wonderfully spirited grandchildren.

Lyle Hillyard Headshot

Lyle Hillyard

Lyle Hillyard advises clients in the areas of family law and criminal defense. He is also a skilled mediator with specialized training in mediation. Hillyard has practiced law for over 50 years and has served for over 40 years in the Utah State Legislature. He was a member of the Utah Senate from 1985-2020. He served as the Senate Majority Leader and President of the Senate, as well as the co-chair of the Joint Executive Appropriations Committee.

Hillyard is also a Utah Commissioner for Uniform Laws. Hillyard has served the legal community and the public in a variety of capacities in committee memberships, board involvements and community activities throughout his distinguished career. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Cache Valley Council and now Trapper Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). In 1998, he received the award of Silver Beaver, one of the BSA’s highest honors. He has also received many awards and recognitions, including the Cache Chamber of Commerce Total Citizen of the Year Award in 1996 and the Distinguished Legislator Award from the Utah Trial Lawyers Association in 2003.

Hillyard received his bachelor’s degree with honors from Utah State University in 1965 and his law degree from the University of Utah in 1967. He was admitted to practice law in Utah and the U.S. District Court, District of Utah, in 1967; in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997; and in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, in 1978. Hillyard is a member of the Cache County and American Bar Associations; the Utah State Bar; the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (sustaining member); and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Hillyard also speaks Dutch.

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N. Jeffery Baker

Norman Jeffrey Baker was born and raised in a small agricultural community in southern California. While growing up, he spent most of his summers working on farms and ranches in southern Utah and Nevada, including a summer working in the pineapple fields of Hawaii. After high school, he attended college at Brigham Young University and served a mission in Australia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Following missionary service, he returned to BYU to pursue a degree in Geography. He also enrolled in the Air Force ROTC, and upon graduation was named a distinguished graduate and commissioned an officer.

Active duty followed with an assignment to flight school at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona.  However, his planned military career was abruptly and unexpectedly cut short due to massive cutbacks to the military imposed by Congress in the early 1990’s. Although this was a painful episode, he was not to be kept down. Using his degree, he began learning Geographic Information Systems and began a career in GIS in 1995 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A few years later, Baker accepted employment with Salt River Project, a major water and power utility serving the greater Phoenix area. He spent 10 years in this position, primarily using GIS in support of state and federal water rights issues. During this same period, he volunteered for seven years with the Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff’s Search-and-Rescue Team.

Baker’s next employment was with the City of Florence, Arizona, where he implemented the city’s GIS program to support a variety of municipal government functions. His current employment for the last 11 years is with Davis County, Utah, where he serves as a GIS Analyst.

He is married to his sweetheart, Tonya. Together, they have a blended family of nine children and four grandsons--but still waiting for a granddaughter. They enjoy spending time with family and exploring Utah’s beautiful backcountry.

Robert Bishop Headshot

Robert W. Bishop

Rob Bishop was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah, and graduated from Davis High School (1969) and the University of Utah (1974).  He spent 28 years as a high school teacher at Ben Lomond and Box Elder, retiring at BEHS as a Department Chair and AP government /AP US History teacher.  While a teacher, he also represented Brigham City in the Utah House of Representatives (1979-1994) including service as Rules Chair, Majority Leader, and his final term as Speaker of the House. 

Bishop helped organize legislators from neighboring states into the Western States Coalition.  After retiring from the legislature, Bishop spent eight years outside of elective office before running in 2002 for the US Congress.  He replaced the retiring Jim Hansen, and served for the next 18 years in Washington (a Utah tenure record second only to Jim Hansen’s 22 years).  While in Congress, Bishop was a senior member of the Armed Service and Rules Committees.  He was Chairman of the Natural Resource Committee, and also served stints as chair of the Western Caucus, Tenth Amendment Task Force, Speaker’s Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, and the Congressional Study Group on Germany. 

Bishop retired in 2021.  Bishop has experience in redistricting efforts as a legislator (1980/1990), State Party Chair (2000) and Congressman (2010). He looks forward to using that experience in this new assignment.   

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William A. Thorne, Jr. 

Judge William A. Thorne, Jr. (ret.), a Pomo/Coast Miwok Indian from northern California, was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in May 2000 by Gov. Michael O. Leavitt. He retired in September of 2013. He was a judge in the Third Circuit Court for eight years, having been appointed by Governor Norman Bangerter in 1986, and then served in the Third District Court for six years, appointed by Governor Leavitt in 1994.

Judge Thorne received a B.A. from the University of Santa Clara in 1974 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1977. Judge Thorne has served for over 34 years as a tribal court judge in Utah, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nevada, California, Nebraska, and Michigan.

He is the former president and current vice-president of the National Indian Justice Center (a nonprofit that trains tribal court and other personnel around the country), and a former member of the Board of Directors for National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit group that provides volunteer representation for abused and neglected children in court). He was formerly a member of numerous boards, including the PEW Commission on Children in Foster Care, the Board of Directors for the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (a nonprofit seeking to improve the level of research and practice related to adoptions), Board of Trustees for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, NACAC [North American Council on Adoptable Children] and the ABA Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children.

Additionally, Judge Thorne is a former member of the Utah Judicial Council, the Board of Circuit Court Judges, and the Board of Directors for the National American Indian Court Judge’s Association, and most recently ended his term as Chair of the Board for Child Trends, Inc. (a non-profit devoted to research dealing with children and families). He also formerly served as chair of the Utah Juvenile Justice Task Force of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, vice-chair of the Utah Board of Youth Corrections, co-chair of the Judicial Council’s Committee on Improving Jury Service, chair of the Judicial Council’s Bail Bonding Committee, chair of the Court Technology Committee, member of the Salt Lake County Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, and a member of the steering committee for the Judicial Council’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness.

Judge Thorne is Past Chair for the board of WestEd Inc. (a non-profit focusing on excellence and equity in education), a member of the board for the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a member of the Advisory Council for the Capacity Building Center for Tribes of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, and a member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and a member of the advisory board for the National Child Welfare Workforce Initiative. In 2016 the National Center for State Courts recognized Judge Thorne with their Distinguished Service Award.

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