Friday, November 9, 2007

Durango City Council hires Ketchum city administrator

LeBlanc?s last day in Ketchum will be Jan. 2, 2008

Express Staff Writer

Ron LeBlanc

It's finally official: Ketchum is in need of a new city administrator.

"During the past five and one half years I have been delighted to serve as your city cdministrator," wrote Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc in a Wednesday, Nov. 7, letter of resignation to the city. "My contributions to this community were subtle and understated, with the exception of the groundwork laid for capital improvements such as the under-grounding of overhead power lines and the initial construction of the Fourth Street Heritage Corridor.

"I am happy to have had this opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects ranging from the establishment of the URA to serving as chair of the Blaine County Communications Center Board (BC3)."

LeBlanc has worked in Ketchum for 5.5 years. His resignation will be effective Jan. 2, 2008, when he will depart to take on a new assignment: city manager of Durango, Colo., a resort city in the southwest part of the state.

Although the Durango City Council unanimously selected LeBlanc at its Oct. 23 meeting, the City Council's Tuesday, Nov. 6, vote was an official endorsement of a written employment agreement highlighting a salary of $136,114, with as much as $25,000 for moving expenses.

"It is with mixed emotions that I tender this letter of resignation as city administrator of the city of Ketchum," LeBlanc wrote in his letter. "... I understand the tremendous challenges facing the city in the months ahead. Coupled with the current vacancies in the Planning Department, it's my intention to assist the mayor and City Council by developing a list of pressing issues and to offer my considerable public sector experience in developing a plan for the recruitment and selection of my successor."

LeBlanc went on to describe Ketchum as a "great community" with "great promise" ahead.

"Working as the logistics coordinator during the Castle Rock Fire demonstrated to me just how special this community really can be," he wrote.

LeBlanc said earlier this week that he and his wife consider Colorado to be their home.

"We're both graduates of the University of Colorado at Boulder," he said. "We have lots of friends in Colorado, and we've been in touch with many of them."

Among the factors weighing into his decision to move is the cost of living in the Wood River Valley.

"If I were hired now I could not afford the house we're in," he said, referring to his Hailey home.

And that is despite his $153,102 salary in Ketchum.

LeBlanc is scheduled to start in Durango on Jan. 8.

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