Friday, August 5, 2011

Gelskey to step down as Bellevue marshal

Three sheriff’s deputies to transfer to Hailey Police Department

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Police Department is seeking a replacement for Bellevue Marshal Brad Gelskey in anticipation of taking over law enforcement services in the city of Bellevue in October.

Gelskey, a 20-year veteran of the Blaine County Sheriff's Office, will stay on at the Sheriff's Office and be promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said he is conducting a search in the ranks of the Hailey Police Department for a suitable candidate to fill the Bellevue marshal position.

"Someone with leadership experience," Gunter said.

Sheriff's deputies Brad Mecham, Rene Rodriguez and Crissi Gilchrist will transfer to the Hailey Police Department and continue working in Bellevue.

Gunter said he expects that under the new law enforcement contract with Bellevue, a "secure room" will be provided in City Hall to conduct police business. He said the room would provide privacy and be equipped with a computer and fax line.

The contract between Hailey and Bellevue is being written by Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson and is expected to be finalized by the Bellevue City Council on Thursday, Aug. 11.

"I will work closely with Jeff Gunter to make sure there is a smooth transition," said Sheriff Gene Ramsey.

Ramsey said he does not yet know if the change will result in layoffs at the Sheriff's Office.

Gunter said the new contract would allow the city of Hailey to retain a police officer position funded in 2009 by a federal stimulus grant. Funding for that position ran out this year.

In an interview, Ramsey responded to allegations made in a letter by the Bellevue City Council to County Administrator Derek Voss that the city had been overcharged about $40,000 in the past four years for law enforcement services. In an interview, Bellevue City Council Chair Dave Hattula said he suspected the overcharges were added to salaries within the Sheriff's Office.

"After a cursory look at the letter, I believe they made some assumptions that were very wrong and there were no such thing as overpayments," Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he would address the allegation of overcharging at the Aug. 11 Bellevue City Council meeting.

Ramsey also said that two police cars belonging to the city of Bellevue would remain in a secure parking compound in Hailey, when not being used by officers in Bellevue, until the contract with the Sheriff's Office expires in October.

He said they were brought to the compound following vandalism attacks in Hailey in December.

Bellevue City Councilman Dave Hattula recently questioned whether the patrol cars had been used by the Sheriff's Office for business outside of Bellevue.

"They have been used exclusively in Bellevue," Ramsey said.

Tony Evans:

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