Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Debate looms over dispatch committee


Express Staff Writers

Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc last week tendered his resignation from the BC3 Committee, which advises Blaine County and its cities on the consolidation of emergency dispatch systems.

"I just don't have time to do a good job," LeBlanc said. "We have so much going on in Ketchum that I can't keep up."

LeBlanc was appointed for a one-year term when the committee was formed three years ago, and was serving as its chair when he resigned.

The BC3 Committee, which draws its name from Blaine County Communications Center, consists of five members. Two are permanent—Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling and county Emergency Medical Director Dr. Keith Sivertson. One is chosen by the county's fire departments, one by its law enforcement agencies and one—LeBlanc's seat—chosen by the Blaine County commissioners upon nomination by the county's mayors.

Commissioner Tom Bowman said he has sent a letter to the mayors requesting nominations to fill the vacancy.

On Monday, Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant and members of the City Council discussed the request for nominations.

While discussing the possibility of making a nomination, McBryant noted that Hailey, while having the largest population in the county, still does not have a permanent voting member on the committee. "That's troublesome to me personally," she said.

Saying the overall process of consolidating the county's emergency dispatch systems has become questionable, McBryant asked whether the city should "validate a completely dysfunctional system" by agreeing to nominate a person to replace LeBlanc.

"I think it's an opportunity to step back and ask what we want to do with this thing," she said.

The mayor and council finally agreed to pause before returning to the county with a response.

"Let's pull back," McBryant said. "We need a little more time to discuss this."

Emergency and law-enforcement services are dispatched from the Blaine County Sheriff's Office in Hailey and from the Ketchum Police Department. The ultimate goal is to combine those in one location.

That plan has been put on hold by a court decision but Chief Deputy Sheriff Gene Ramsey told county commissioners July 26 that a computer-aided dispatch system is on track.

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