Friday, July 11, 2008

Another attorney steps away

Rand Peebles leaves Sun Valley city post

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley City Attorney Rand Peebles is stepping away from City Hall after 13 years of sitting in on council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings.

Peebles announced his resignation to Mayor Wayne Willich and members of the City Council on Tuesday, with his last day scheduled for July 28.

Strangely enough, this comes approximately two weeks after Ketchum City Attorney Ben Worst resigned, leaving the neighboring cities without dedicated attorneys.

As an attorney for the Ketchum law firm Hawley, Troxell, Ennis & Hawley, Peebles was contracted by Sun Valley for legal services since 1995.

In his resignation letter, Peebles stated that he is leaving private practice to take a position as in-house general counsel for Power Engineers, a leading U.S. provider of engineering services with offices in Boise and Hailey.

"I count myself blessed for having the opportunity to provide legal guidance as City Attorney," Peebles stated. "I will miss very much working with such an outstanding staff, dedicated council and planning and zoning members, and Mayor Willich."

Willich said on Thursday that as a professional courtesy, Peebles will be available to help with pending litigation and ensure a smooth transition for his replacement.

While the council has yet to discuss its desired direction for finding Peebles' successor, Willich said that the city will likely ask an area attorney to work during the interim on a contract for service basis.

"He's been fantastic," Willich said of Peebles. "I'm excited for him as the offer from Power Engineers is a great opportunity for him at this point in his life and career."

However, Willich said that he was definitely sad to see Peebles' departure.

"He has so much institutional knowledge and can recall or find the most minute and relevant details," Willich said. "As well, he's kept me out of all kind of trouble with tricky land use planning, which result in lots of lawsuits."

Willich, who took over at the beginning of the year, said that he would have preferred Peebles would have remained with the city for another year, especially with the recent addition of Sharon Hammer as the new city administrator.

Hammer echoed this sentiment.

"It's unfortunate that Rand is leaving as he is such a good resource, especially because I don't have the knowledge base yet regarding Idaho statutes," Hammer said of Peebles.

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