The Blaine County Republican Central Committee has chopped the list of applicants to be the county's next sheriff from eight to five.
Eliminated from further consideration were Hailey police Patrolman Charles Cox, with six years experience in law enforcement, and laymen applicants Aaron Hughston, the owner of Tamarack Sports in Hailey, and Brent Diehl, the owner of the Hailey company Brent Diehl Construction.
Remaining on the list to replace Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling are semi-retired FBI Agent Frank Hall, Blaine County Chief Deputy Gene Ramsey, Hailey police Lt. Steve England, semi-retired Texas lawman Phil English and Hailey police Patrolman Larry Clark.
GOP committee Chair Ed Terrazas said the decision to eliminate contenders was based on their degree of law enforcement experience and was reached by the committee in a meeting Thursday.
"During our meeting, we agreed that the county would be best served by a sheriff with significant law enforcement experience," Terrazas said.
He said the five remaining applicants have been invited for interviews by the committee on Saturday. He said a short list of three applicants will be forwarded to county commissioners next week.
The GOP Central Committee is legally authorized to pick the three applicants because Femling is a Republican. Idaho law requires the County Commission to select a new sheriff from the list provided by the GOP.
Femling's resignation becomes effective March 1. Citing health reasons, he announced his resignation last month.
Whomever is selected for the job would be required to seek election in 2012 to retain the post.
Blaine County Administrator Derek Voss said the person selected sheriff would likely be paid a salary equal to Femling's, which for fiscal year 2011 is $88,159. Voss said the County Commission is required to set the salaries of elected officials prior to the start of each fiscal year.
"They're not permitted to lower that during the course of that year," he said. "The law does not specifically address the issue of an incoming new elected official. At this point, I don't have any indication from the commissioners what their intentions are."
Femling, who has been the county's sheriff for 24 years, has thus far declined to endorse anyone as his replacement.
Ramsey has served as chief deputy under Femling throughout Femling's tenure as sheriff. He typically serves as acting sheriff when Femling is away from the office.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org