Since 2001, when Jim Jaquet retired after 25 years as Ketchum city administrator, Ketchum has gone to great lengths and expense to hire two highly qualified administrators with city manager skills. First was Ron LeBlanc, who as an International City Management Association-credentialed manager brought a level of knowledge and professionalism to Ketchum that created programs that saved the city money and streamlined procedures. After five and a half years, we lost Ron to Durango, Colo., where he could use all of his skills as their city manager.
In 2008, Gary Marks was recruited. Even though he, too, has the education and experience of a city manager, as Ketchum's administrator his responsibilities are limited to 80 percent of what he is qualified (and paid) for because Ketchum is still governed by the mayor/council form of government.
So isn't it time that Ketchum consider adopting the council/manager form of government? The majority of cities in the United States with populations less than 5,000 have done just that (source: ICMA Municipal Yearbook, 2010), including most of the Western resort towns.
The change from a mayor/council to council/manager form of government can only be made with a vote of the people. The date for the next election is Nov. 8, 2011, perfect timing to make the transition (if the voters chose) since this is a general election year. It also gives the voters five months, plenty of time, to learn about the pros and cons of both forms of government.
In order to guarantee that this issue is on the November ballot, a petition of the people is needed. It will take the signatures of 215 registered voters. The petition will be circulating soon. Sign it and let the people decide which form of government is best for the future of Ketchum.