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For the week of  September 5 - 11, 2001


Hutchinson appointed mayor of Ketchum

New mayor eyes tasks ahead

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Mayor David Hutchinson, who is completing the term of former Mayor Guy Coles through December, is settling in to his new post at city hall, and says he will do more than be a figurehead through the termís conclusion.

David Hutchinson


The Ketchum City Council voted 2 to 1 Aug. 29 to appoint Hutchinson, the former council president, to the post of mayor.

Former Mayor Guy Coles, whose term would have expired in December, was found dead Aug. 21 at his Ketchum home. He died four months before his four-year term expired.

Hutchinson said he has already spoken with City Administrator Jim Jaquet about running more efficient meetings.

"Iíve always had a problem with comments that come out that are not part of the agenda," he said.

Other priorities will be finalizing the cityís priority list of short-term action plans from the recently adopted Ketchum Comprehensive Plan, starting the process of searching for a new city administrator to replace Jaquet, who plans to retire within the next six months, and aggressively pursuing a franchise agreement with Idaho Power that would help place the cityís unsightly electricity lines underground.

The city has been without an Idaho Power franchise agreement for several years.

"It would be my feeling that we make (the franchise agreement) a top priority and start working on it right now," he said.

But Hutchinsonís appointment did not come without waves.

Councilman Maurice Charlat voted against it, stating that he would prefer to appoint a mayor from outside the council, a move that would have avoided the need to fill the council seat vacated by Hutchinson, who abstained from the mayoral vote.

Charlat proposed that William Cassell, former president and chief executive officer of Heidelberg University in Ohio and an American consul to Nepal, be appointed to the post.

Cassell has been active in the community, raising funds for the St. Thomas Episcopal Church remodeling project and for the Advocates for the Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Cassellís appointment to mayor would have prevented the "domino effect" caused by appointing someone to replace Hutchinson and, possibly, having to fill the seat of whoever is appointed to replace Hutchinson, Charlat said.

Council members Chris Potters and Randy Hall saw it differently.

"In my opinion, what is in the best interest of the community is to fill it with the most qualified person possible," Hall said. "In my opinion, Councilman Hutchinson is the most qualified person."

Hall pointed out that Hutchinson, as council president, had substituted for Mayor Guy Coles when Coles was not able to attend meetings. That experience boosts Hutchinsonís credentials for the job, he said.

Potters, who said she agreed with Hall, added that "the city is so lucky to have someone of (Hutchinsonís) abilities."

Following the death of a mayor, according to state law, a city council may fill the post from within or outside the council.

Hutchinson, 44, has been a public servant for Ketchum since 1986 when he was appointed to the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission by ex-Mayor Jerry Seiffert. He was elected to the city council in November, 1993, and reelected in 1997. He was council president by unanimous council votes during both terms.

He moved to the Wood River Valley in 1978 when he was 21, and is a local developer, realtor and businessman.

Hutchinson took the oath of office for mayor at the Wednesday meetingís conclusion.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.