Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As lawsuit lingers, Sun Valley city administrator returns to job

Fire chief says he is on leave; mayor is mum


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley City Administrator Sharon Hammer returned to work on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Photo by Mountain Express

After more than a month on administrative leave, Sun Valley City Administrator Sharon Hammer is back on active-duty status.

Mayor Wayne Willich placed Hammer on leave Nov. 18. He has repeatedly declined to state the reason for the leave, other than to say it was not a disciplinary action.

In an email that Willich sent to Hammer on Dec. 23—provided to the Idaho Mountain Express by Hammer's attorney, Jim Donoval—Willich requested she return from leave Dec. 27.

"You will assume your normal duties as City Administrator, paid-on-call firefighter and EMT roles," the email states.

On Tuesday, Sun Valley Fire Chief Jeff Carnes said he has been placed on paid administrative leave, effective Dec. 20. He said he doesn't know why he was placed on leave but declined further comment.

Willich did not return phone calls by press time Tuesday seeking comment on staff leaves, including who is and was on leave, and why.

The city hired outside legal counsel last month to conduct an internal investigation. Willich has previously declined to comment on the nature of that investigation.

Hammer filed a lawsuit against the city of Sun Valley under the Idaho Protection of Public Employees Act, saying the city failed to protect her from what she said was harassment and other inappropriate behavior by Councilman Nils Ribi.

She also named Ribi as a defendant, along with City Councilman Bob Youngman and City Attorney Adam King.

Hammer alleges Ribi repeatedly harassed her over the course of several years. She claims that after she complained to the mayor about his actions, Ribi set out to retaliate against her.

She also alleges collusion among Ribi, Youngman and King in trying to have her removed from her job and contends they used illegally obtained personnel information to support their efforts.

Ribi has denied all allegations, calling them "baseless and defamatory."

A hearing set for Jan. 11 requested by Donoval to have Hammer reinstated to active-duty status was vacated last week. Donoval said Tuesday that he is working with the city to resolve the matter.

Sun Valley hired Boise firm Naylor & Hales to represent it in the suit. Attorney Kirtlan Naylor declined Tuesday to comment on whether he was in discussions with Donoval.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.