Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vote ‘yes’ for Ketchum council-manager plan


The Ketchum Committee For Better Government is a registered nonprofit association founded by Ketchum residents Anne Corrock and Ed Simon.

By KETCHUM COMMITTEE FOR BETTER GOVERNMENT

The Ketchum Committee for Better Government is a broad-based group of Ketchum voters who have utilized a lawful initiative process to raise the question of which form of government will best serve the citizens of Ketchum. Our response to Wood River Economic Partnership is based upon their guest opinion in the Idaho Mountain Express, the comments in their newsletter and the forum they hosted on Sept. 14.

The premise on which WREP has decided that the council-manager plan does not warrant their support is based on a political issue, not the pros and cons of the forms of government. They cite the four hotels that have been approved for development in Ketchum, and, that "these hotels will be the largest growth engine driving our economy over the next 50 years." (WREP newsletter, October 2011).

They invited two of the developers to speak on the panel against the initiative in their Sept. 14 forum, raising concerns for the future of their projects, blaming the initiative and further blurring the issue at hand.

The fact is, all of these hotel projects have been approved and have legally binding development agreements. These agreements are between the developers and the city of Ketchum, not individually elected officials. Both parties have a contractual obligation to abide by the terms. As stated above, this is a political issue, not an issue of which form of government is best for the future of Ketchum.

The fear instilled by WREP and the developers that a yes vote "has extremely serious implications for the future economic vitality and business environment of our entire community" (Idaho Mountain Express, Sept. 28) is blatantly untrue.

The council-manager form of government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed manager. All power and authority rests with the entire elected governing body. The governing body appoints a highly trained professional manager on the basis of his/her education, experience, skills and abilities.

If the manager is not responsive to the governing body, it has the authority to terminate the manager at any time. It depoliticizes the day-to-day operations of city government, and allows elected officials to focus on the important policy decisions and future planning. The council/manager form of government is efficient, professional, ethical and cost effective, encourages public participation and ensures that the entire community is equitably served.

The ballot question—"Shall the City of Ketchum, Idaho adopt the council-manager plan of government as set forth in sections 50-801 through 50-812, Idaho Code?"—will be decided by Ketchum voters, not WREP or any other special-interest group. This initiative process permits the citizenry to directly legislate based on a vote and will of the majority.

The Ketchum Committee For Better Government is proud to have enabled this important issue to come before the Ketchum voters in the upcoming Nov. 8 election.

The key to a successful democracy is participation. Learn the facts about the council-manager form of government. There is information on the International City/County Management Association website, icma.org, and our Facebook page, Ketchum Committee For Better Government.

Also, plan to attend our forum on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 5:30 in Ketchum City Hall, where you will be able to ask the candidates the questions that are important to you.

Only 43.8 percent of U.S. cities still use the mayor/council form of government while 48.7 percent have adopted the council/manager form. Let's join them and the vast majority of ski resort communities across the U.S.—Vote yes on Nov. 8.




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