Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Itís down to the wire

Sun Valley, Ketchum look to fill city administrator positions before June

Express Staff Writer

By the beginning of June, the current interim city administrators of both Sun Valley and Ketchum will be a long way from the Wood River Valley, leaving vacancies the two cities hope to have filled by next week, with the new staffers in place by the middle of next month.

Sun Valley Interim City Administrator Jerry Osterman said he will be with the city through the end of May before heading back to his home in Washington.

"I always had the thought that when the snow be gone, so be I," Osterman said. "It's time to get back to my fishing rod and motorcycle."

Mayor Wayne Willich said that while it was unfortunate that Osterman could not fill the position permanently, as he has done a terrific job during his five months on the job, he is excited about the candidates interviewed last week.

Willich said that from the 47 applicants, he was able to narrow the field down to five with the help of the City Council and executive search consultant Greg Prothman. That number was further reduced to three after a two-day effort, including interviews and more social meetings.

On Tuesday, Willich said the competition for the position had been cut to two and that the city was working through contract discussions and would likely have an accepted offer by the end of the week.

Willich said it has been a difficult process due to the highly qualified level of candidates and that he was still unable to release any information about the finalists.

Osterman, who is completing his forth stint as an interim city administrator, said he has been working to make it as easy as possible for his successor to step into the role.

"It should be in good shape for him to walk into and hopefully it will be a smooth transition for the city staff," Osterman said. "I've enjoyed my time here and hope I did a satisfactory job."

In Ketchum, the city's search is only slightly behind its neighbor.

Interim City Administrator Jim Jaquet, who depart the office May 22, said the list of candidates is down to three, though there is a chance that another could be added.

One of the candidates, Gary Marks, currently city manager of Whitefish, Mont., will be interviewed by Mayor Randy Hall and the City Council in executive session on Friday, May 16.

Frank Bell, town manager of Telluride, Colo., and Susan Robertson, village manager of Fox Point, Wisc., will be interviewed on Tuesday, May 20. Jaquet said Hall expects to make an offer to one of the candidates that day.

Members of the public will have the chance to meet Bell and Robertson at a reception at the Roosevelt Tavern and Grille on Monday, May 19, from 7-8 p.m. Marks cannot attend due to a prior engagement.

As for Jaquet, he said he will continue to check in on the Fourth Street Heritage Corridor project to make sure there are "no foul-ups." However, he will first relax by taking a trip to Lewiston with his wife, state Rep.Wendy Jaquet, where he will indulge in one of his favorite pastimes—watching baseball.

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