Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City manager would keep Ketchum open

In deciding whether to vote for or against the Council-Manager form of government, I encourage Ketchum's voters to review the results of the current management. During Mayor Randy Hall's tenure, the fire chief, police chief, city administrator, city attorney, assistant police chief and the entire Planning Department quit, costing the city close to $200,000 in payouts plus substantial disruption. This much turnover demonstrates that Ketchum's current management cannot attract and retain talented individuals. It doesn't even try.

Ketchum no longer consults citizen advisory committees in hiring key employees nor does it advertise when certain key positions are open. If we have good management, ask the firefighters why they feel the need to unionize now after 128 years of outstanding nonunion service.

The current management also conducts a substantial portion of the public's business behind closed doors. Mayor Hall actually traveled out of state to meet with a developer in private. The result of that meeting was a proposed grocery store in the Light Industrial zone in complete disregard for the downtown master plan that Ketchum residents had spent hundreds of hours developing.

The list goes on—affordable housing behind the cemetery, a street vacation for no compelling reason, "retreats" in Hagerman, Hailey and the Copper Basin, three days of private meetings with the Warm Springs Ranch developers, a world-record short RFP for Starbuck's on the town plaza, a failure to separate the URA from the city, developers who, in spite of their written contracts with the city, feel they have something to lose if there is a change in management. Have they been promised something that's not in writing?

The council-manager form of government brings professional management, continuity and access to the chief executive that is truly open to the public, not just his cronies. Please vote "yes."

Ben Worst


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