Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City manager vote is disguised recall


By JACK BARITEAU

Once again the naysayers and advocates of doing nothing have surfaced with another attempt to recall our mayor and City Council. This time under the guise of a new form of government, Ed Simon and Anne Corrock have mounted a selfish, deceptive effort to turn the tables on the elected officials who consistently disagree with their opinions. They found an Idaho statue that calls for a change in government from mayor-council to council-manager that coincidentally requires a simultaneous election of all existing council and mayoral seats.

This initiative is about turning back the clock and telling the outside world that we are not open for business.

We have an excellent mayor and council who have accomplished a great deal these last six years. They have reduced budget spending by $3.3 million and reduced city staff from 83 to 51 without negatively impacting our services. Ketchum is in sound fiscal shape thanks to the council and mayor, who hired a forward-thinking city administrator, Gary Marks.

I have lived in other cities with a council-manager government and I did not like it because power was centered in the hands of the city manager and created a detached sense of responsibility to the electorate. This is the opposite of what we need in Ketchum, where we demand accountability to the electorate.

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I, along with other investors who love Ketchum and Sun Valley, have directed the investment of millions of dollars into our downtown. We have constructed game-changing buildings. We are now focused on getting our Hotel Ketchum project financed and into the ground. We are here for the long haul and need our strong mayor-council form of government to remain confident that the city is moving in the right direction.

I have dealt with the city of Ketchum since 1996 on all levels. While the process became muddled, incoherent and in many ways anti-everything from 2002 to 2005, a new council emerged that has focused on future economic vitality. Approval of three major hotel projects and the annexation of River Run into Ketchum have set the stage for the growth we need when capital investment is found. The dedication, experience and political courage of our current council have laid the foundation for a vibrant future.

We do not need a new form of government. We have a functioning, open system now. A defacto recall that will set us back for years to come is a disheartening prospect when we least need it.

Vote no on council-manager form of government Nov. 8.

Jack Bariteau is a Ketchum businessman and developer.




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