Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge will head to Georgia in August for six weeks of military training as part of his Utah National Guard service.
Ainge, 36, received his orders Monday, and notified Utah County officials and the public Tuesday. His training will run at Fort Benning, Ga., from Aug. 9 to Sept. 18.
In May, Ainge was sworn in as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, or JAG — who represent the Army and soldiers in military legal matters. He is a lawyer and has worked in private equity firms. He ran for the Utah County Commission in 2018.
Ainge informed county officials he would continue to serve as the commission’s chair while on his training, “with a few accommodations and my willingness to work nights and weekends on Utah County matters,” he wrote. That includes, he said, taking part in public meetings by phone or video teleconferencing.
The alternative, Ainge told officials, would be to take military leave, which would require an interim election. Such an election would take 40 days to complete, and mean his commission seat would be unfilled the entire time he was training in Georgia.
Ainge also told officials he would take a pay cut during his six weeks of training, drawing only one-third of his normal commissioner’s pay.
Ainge made national headlines in July when he clashed with fellow commissioner Bill Lee, who drew some 150 supporters to a commission meeting to protest a potential mandate to wear face masks to fend off the spread of COVID-19. The meeting was tense, particularly when Ainge made a motion to adjourn the meeting before it began, because too many people were unmasked in the confines of the commission’s board room.
Ainge is also known for having a famous father: former NBA and Brigham Young University basketball star Danny Ainge, who is now the general manager of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.