Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Looking toward the bullpen

Ketchum hunts for council replacement

Express Staff Writer

After Ron Parson's resignation from the Ketchum City Council earlier this month, city officials are beating the bushes for a replacement.

Mayor Randy Hall said on Monday that he asked the remaining three council members to nominate one or two candidates each and began the interview process last week.

"The candidates have to have a passion for this community and be able to roll up their sleeves and hit the ground running because we have a very aggressive agenda," Hall said.

Hall said that the city currently has approximately half a dozen interviews to do, but did not feel it was appropriate to publicize the names of the candidates.

Because he is unfamiliar with some of the council's nominees, Hall said that he has begun meeting personally with these candidates.

"I've also been doing some arm twisting with a few people because I think they would be a good fit," Hall said. "As well I wouldn't mind getting a woman up there because it kind of looks like a boys' club up there."

Hall said that he, along with the council, would try to pare the list down to two or three names by next week and then try to come to a consensus on a single candidate.

"We're trying to get this done straight away," Hall said. "However, it's probably wishful thinking to have a replacement for Ron by next Monday's council meeting."

Parsons resigned on July 2, citing health reasons for his decision to step down before the end of his term.

Parsons served on the Planning and Zoning Commission from 2003 to 2005 and was subsequently appointed to the council to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Chris Potters. He retained the seat with a successful campaign in 2005.

Hall has had to find a replacement council member once before, when he was elected mayor and appointed Steve Shafran to fill Hall's opened seat on the council.

"Like Shafran, the people we're looking at have incredible brains on them," Hall said.

The successful candidate would sit through the remainder of Parsons' term, which ends December 2009.

If the majority of the council doesn't approve the mayor's selection, Hall would have 10 days to bring another candidate in front of the council for approval. If the selection takes longer than 10 days, the council members can select and approve a candidate of their own choosing.

"This is a very important decision, as I know a lot of people will be looking at this appointment, especially with everything going on in the city right now," Hall said, alluding to the two proposed hotel applications and the Thunder Spring affordable housing project, all of which are currently before the city.

"I'm hoping someone will just jump out at me," Hall said of the candidates.

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