Applicants sought for new
By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer
After only its second
meeting, and before all its members have been chosen, the Blaine-Ketchum Housing
Authority has already become ensnared in politics.
Under the joint powers
agreement that formed the authority in September, two of its members are
appointed by the Blaine County Commission and two by the Ketchum City Council.
The fifth is nominated by unanimous consent of those four members and ratified
by the city and county.
The housing authority was
scheduled to select its nominee last Thursday. However, the authorityís
members decided during a meeting that night that a provision in the joint powers
agreement requiring advertising of vacant positions should be applied to
choosing the fifth member as well. Such an ad was placed in the Mountain Express
The decision angered former
Blaine County Housing Authority member Sue Noel, who attended Thursdayís
meeting with the hope of being appointed to the new body. She said that when the
creation of the joint authority was discussed while she was on the earlier body,
there was no mention of the fifth memberís being chosen by unanimous rather
than majority vote, of a requirement of ratification by the city and county, or
of a need to advertise the position.
"Everybodyís aware of
whatís going on here, that there are people who have been primed to make sure
that I do not get on this commission," Noel said. "There are people in
this town who will do just about anything to keep me off the housing board,
because they know I am the champion of affordable housing for the little
In an interview, Noel alleged
some of those people are members of Ketchumís city government, and in
particular Mayor Ed Simon. She contended that those who oppose her participation
on the housing authority give lip service to affordable housing but donít
really want to see it in Ketchum.
"The whole joint powers
thing is a boondoggle to dilute the power of the housing authority," Noel
However, in an interview,
Simon said he was unaware that the fifth member needed to be confirmed by
Ketchum and the county.
"I quite frankly donít
see the Ketchum City Council not confirming someone whom the housing authority
chooses," he said.
Simon said he considers
himself, like Noel, to be an advocate of affordable housing. However, he said,
as mayor he has to back only those projects that have broad public support. That
support, he said, did not exist for the proposed Town Center project.
In response to Noelís
criticisms, housing authority Chairman David Kipping said the agreementís
provisions should not have come as a surprise to her since he distributed copies
of it six weeks ago.
"Weíll follow the
procedures that we are legally obligated to follow," Kipping said. "Iím
not really happy with the way the joint powers agreement was done, but we have
Anyone interested in applying
to be on the authority should contact Director Dick Duncan, at 726-5509.
Applications must be received by March 12. The nominee is scheduled to be chosen
during a meeting March 13.
Simon said he is also seeking
applicants to fill two vacant positions on the five-member Ketchum Housing
"Itís an advisory
body, but I think it can have a lot of influence," he said.