Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sun Valley appoints new councilman

Dave Chase replaces Ann Agnew on four-person panel

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson and newly appointed Councilman Dave Chase chat before a City Council meeting last week. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Sun Valley City Council approved the appointment of Dave Chase to the council on Thursday, June 22. Chase replaced Ann Agnew, who stepped down after five and a half years on the City Council.

"Dave has been on my radar for some time, based on his interest in community," said Jon Thorson, Sun Valley mayor. "I approached him about working in our community. He really was a natural choice."

Thorson appeared eager to get Chase on board when he swore him in prior to the council formally approving the appointment. This proved a formality as the council unanimously endorsed Chase, following which Thorson swore Chase into public office for a second time.

Chase is currently a partner with Altus Alliance, a Seattle-based venture consulting firm specializing primarily in the technology industry. He volunteers as a strategic advisor to Climate Solutions, a non-partisan economic development nonprofit focused on energy.

Chase has also worked in marketing and at executive positions for Microsoft. He was recently appointed to the Ketchum Community Development Corporation. Chase is also the owner of SunValleyOnline, an Internet-based blog and news site.

"Some of the discipline you learn in the business environment can be useful in the City Council," Chase said. "City government, quite frankly, is a new area for me ... but I feel I can bring a fresh outlook."

Ketchum and Sun Valley, in many ways, work in conjunction with one another on community planning and development. It's a fact that could put Chase in a unique position to act as a de facto liaison between the two municipalities because of his dual roles on the CDC and Sun Valley City Council.

"The two (cities) are connected," Chase said. "I don't know how much Ketchum depends on Sun Valley, but Sun Valley definitely relies on Ketchum for a lot."

Several Sun Valley City Council members have referred to Ketchum in open meeting as "our downtown."

Chase is also in the unique position of being an owner of a media outlet and a simultaneously serving as a city official.

"I appreciate that concern (that the roles could pose a potential conflict of interest) ... and I will have to wear two hats," Chase said. "As a city official, it is essential they communicate with all media on an equal basis. I will make myself available."

Although Thorson said he is sorry to see Agnew resign, he said, "I think Dave will be a fine addition."

Agnew officially left office last week. She said the main reason for her resignation was her new status as a part-time—rather than full-time—resident of Sun Valley.

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