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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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For the week of December 19 - 25, 2001

  News

Simon plans 
personnel changes

City attorney in the crosshairs


"I think the voters elected me to effect change in the city government. In order to do that, I really do need to have a city attorney who has some fresh ideas and a fresh perspective."

- Ed Simon, Ketchum mayor-elect


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Mayor-elect Ed Simon indicated last week that he plans to replace Ketchum City Attorney Margaret Simms when he takes office in January.

"I think the voters elected me to effect change in the city government," Simon said. "In order to do that, I really do need to have a city attorney who has some fresh ideas and a fresh perspective."

Simon said he has already selected a potential replacement but would not share his or her name.

The news came as a surprise to City Attorney Margaret Simms, who said she had not planned to leave her job in the near future. Simms added that she was disappointed to have learned about Simonís intentions through the local grapevine, rather than from Simon himself.

State law allows for removal of appointed employees by a majority vote if initiated by the mayor and by a unanimous vote if initiated by the city council.

A new city attorney must be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by a majority of the city council.

"If the city council shall refuse to confirm any nomination, the mayor shall then within 10 days thereafter, nominate another person to fill the office, and he may continue to nominate until his nominee is confirmed," according to Idaho Code.

The question then becomes one of the city councilís willingness to go along with Simonís vision for the cityís staff.

In brief interviews last week, council members were not clear about how they plan to handle the pending situation. Councilman Maurice Charlat said it is too early for him to comment intelligently about Simonís proposal. Councilwoman Chris Potters said only, "It seems like deja vous to me," an apparent reference to Simonís rocky political past.

In 1992, Simon was recalled from the Ketchum City Council only 10 months into his term over a personnel dispute involving Ketchum Police Chief Cal Nevland.

The council, including Simon, unanimously voted to fire Chief Nevland. Ketchum citizens, in short, disagreed with the action and recalled three of the four council members who voted for Nevlandís firing.

The past aside, Simon said the mayor, as chief executive of the city, must have a city attorney heís comfortable with. Recent actions at Ketchum City Hall prompted him to believe he would not be comfortable with Simms, he said.

The closing of Ninth Street, the cityís redrafted election ordinance and a lack of action on a conflicts of interest policy are among Simonís objections.

"Iím not blaming Margaret (Simms) for all of this, but at the same time I want a city attorney whoís there to give a different perspective," he said.

 


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.