Friday, February 25, 2011

New sheriff to be named Tuesday

Commissioners to hold public meeting prior to decision


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County should have a new sheriff on Tuesday, the day Sheriff Walt Femling's resignation becomes official.

In a schedule put together by the Blaine County commissioners, the man selected as Femling's replacement will be announced shortly after 9 a.m. at their regular meeting Tuesday and will then be administered the oath of office.

The announcement will follow a public meeting on Monday evening when a panel will question the three finalists for the job—semiretired former Texas lawman Phil English, Hailey police Patrolman Larry Clark and Blaine County Chief Deputy Gene Ramsey.

The names of the three finalists were supplied to the commissioners last week by the Blaine County Republican Central Committee. Since Femling is a Republican, the task of selecting a list of potential replacements fill to the Republicans. There were eight applicants for the job.

Femling, who has served as Blaine County's sheriff for 24 years, cited health reasons in announcing his resignation in January.

Monday's public meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Blaine County Courthouse. The public portion of the meeting will run until 7:30, when the commissioners will retire into executive session for further questioning of the applicants and deliberation toward a decision. The selection will not be announced until Tuesday.

The public portion of the meeting will consist of a question-and-answer session. Questions will be posed by a panel made up of Commissioners Angenie McCleary, Tom Bowman and Larry Schoen, Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas, Chief Probation Officer Teresa Espedal and Clerk and Auditor JoLynn Drage.

McCleary said each panelist will ask one question and the applicants will have three to four minutes to respond.

"There will not be an opportunity for questions or comments from the public," she said. "If they have questions or comments they should call or e-mail the county commissioners prior to the meeting."

GOP clarification

Ed Terrazas, chair of the Republican Central Committee, provided additional information last Friday regarding the process used by the committee to select the final three applicants.

Terrazas said the committee did not meet Wednesday, Feb. 16, as stated in the Feb. 18 issue of the Idaho Mountain Express, to select the finalists but instead voted by secret ballot throughout that day.

"The votes were done on Wednesday, beginning at approximately 10 a.m., and votes were accepted until midnight," Terrazas said. "The voting was done via e-mails directed to solely the secretary of the BCRCC to keep the votes private. The following morning the totals were forwarded to the chair. A letter was then sent to the Blaine County Board of Commissioners."

Terrazas said last week that English scored the highest with the committee with six votes. Ramsey was second with five and Clark third with four.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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