Wednesday, January 19, 2005

County sets county appointments

Airport authority maintains status quo, for now

Express Staff Writer

Incumbent Blaine County Commissioners Sarah Michael and Dennis Wright and newly inaugurated Commissioner Tom Bowman settled on appointments to regional districts and boards Tuesday. County appointments to the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority under the new commission will remain unchanged for the time being. For now, former commissioners and current airport authority members Mary Ann Mix and Leonard Harlig will continue to serve ongoing two-year terms.

"The two appointed positions serve at the will of the board," Commission Chair Michael said. "At any time the board has the ability to replace them."

However, Michael did not say if or when the appointees might be replaced. Harlig was re-appointed to the airport authority last June. Mix's current appointment extends through June 2005.

The City of Hailey also has two appointees to the airport authority, Mayor Susan McBryant and City Councilwoman Martha Burke. McBryant said there are no requirements for whom either the county commissioners or the city council may appoint to the airport's decision making body. In addition, the four members of the board unanimously select a fifth airport authority member unaffiliated with either the city or the county. Dr. Ron Fairfax, an aircraft owner, currently fills the position.

The discussion of other appointments began at a commission meeting last week. Over the weekend Michael printed up a list of priorities for each commissioner. Bowman agreed to oversee emergency services and the school and recreation taxing districts. Wright's charges include wastewater, courts and public health agencies. Michael will keep in touch with federal agencies and be the liaison to water quality issues. A number of organizations and issues, like transportation and communication with the Senior Connection, will be the purview of all the commissioners.

The appointments are intended to help organizations identify a point person if they need to address the commission, but the positions are not meant to be exclusive.

"If they have Christmas parties, we'll know which one to go to," Bowman joked. "We'll share equally in all these responsibilities."

The commission also agreed to move noticed meetings that include public hearings to Tuesdays. When the new schedule begins is a matter that needs to be established by ordinance, but Wright said the change will help provide a buffer for staff, giving them more time on Mondays to prepare for meetings. The commission will review the planning and zoning commission's schedule to determine when to begin the new schedule. This is predicted for February.

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