Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I will not be distracted.

Ketchum mayor refutes claims in recall petition

Express Staff Writer

A defiant Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall on Tuesday night. Photo by Willy Cook

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall returned to City Hall on Monday after a week out of state dealing with a death in his family, only to be confronted with a petition for his recall.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Hall took a few moments to address what he called "this recall nonsense."

An emotional Hall said the petition would not deter him from the course he began when he was elected in 2005.

"I cannot and will not be distracted from keeping my promises and providing the leadership necessary to meet the needs of this community during these challenging times," Hall said.

Although the recall was originally rejected because of a minor technical error, Ketchum Clerk Sandra Cady said the petition had been refiled and would be picked up from the county today.

Hall went through the specific grievances listed by former Planning and Zoning Commissioner Anne Corrock, the author of the petition and outspoken opponent to the proposed Warm Springs Ranch Resort.

Specifically, Hall noted that the increase in the mayor's salary was the result of a City Council vote prior to the last election. This increase, the first in six years, pushed Hall's monthly salary from $1,500 to $3,000.

In response to the second claim, Hall said that he has indeed held two retreats outside of Ketchum, a practice common in previous administrations, both of which were duly noticed and open to the public.

Hall said the city is not in a fiscal crisis, nor has the city operated outside of the budget set by legal ordinance.

Lastly, Hall said that rather than not listening to the electorate, he is the subject of the petition specifically because he has been listening and taking appropriate action.

Hall said that since his election, the city has formed the Urban Renewal Agency, acquired land for city projects, improved Fourth Street, and successfully attracted hotel and community housing development proposals.

"The fact that these people want to recall me for doing exactly what I promised reeks of old style politics that has pushed this community to this tipping point that is totally unacceptable," Hall said.

To get the recall on the next ballot, Corrock would need to collect 418 signatures of registered voters by Sept. 19. The number is based on a percentage of the number of citizens who participated in the last city election.

According to Cady, for the recall to be successful, there would need to be as many or more votes in support of the recall than originally were cast for Hall back in 2005 when he was elected. This means that at least 503 votes for the recall would be needed. A majority of the ballots cast in the recall vote would also be required.

Hall singled out Corrock during his defense, as well as noting that a number of the people involved in the petition had once before tried to recall him while a member of the council.

In 1998, Corrock's father, Jack, initiated an ultimately futile attempt to recall Hall, along with fellow council members David Hutchinson and Sue Noel, and then-Mayor Guy Coles, all of who voted in favor of a 44-unit Fields development in Warm Springs.

"If Anne and her co-signers thought that I was going to put my head in the sand and ignore the fact that retailers and restaurants are struggling or cannot stay open for business, and that we are more and more dependent on a workforce that has to commute over 75 miles, then they thought wrong," Hall said.

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