Sun Valley has a new mayor and two new City Council members following a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday at City Hall.
Outgoing Mayor Wayne Willich swore in new council members Michelle Griffith and Franz Suhadolnik before administering the oath of office to new Mayor Dewayne Briscoe.
After taking his position in the mayor's seat, Briscoe told attendees of the impression the town made on him during his first visit many years ago, as he and fellow high school ski team members came to Sun Valley from Seattle for training. It was a trip that would have a lasting impact—on him and on the town.
"When we came here, Sun Valley was it," he said. "We saw the glory of Sun Valley and we saw its prominence in the world. All of us have seen the decline of quote, the grand Sun Valley, with competition from other areas. It's unfortunate that we see that.
"One of my priorities as mayor is to try to reconstruct Sun Valley, working with the Sun Valley brand, working with the marketing association and working with Sun Valley Co. to restore Sun Valley to the glory and prominence that it was when the four of us first came here."
Briscoe also said as mayor he wants to "resurrect" the relationship with Kitzbühel, Austria, which became a "sister city" with Sun Valley in 1967.
He said he hopes to enlist help from Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance in that effort.
"It will benefit us with becoming prominent again, it will benefit us with marketing in Europe, and I think it will be a meaningful relationship if we can restore that," he said.
Also Tuesday, fellow council members elected Councilman Bob Youngman as council president.
Briscoe beat incumbent Willich by 22 votes in the November election. Griffith and Suhadolnik took the two council seats that were up for election, defeating Joan Lamb and Stephen Poindexter.
Rebecca Meany: email@example.com
City administrator and fire chief back on leave
Sun Valley City Administrator Sharon Hammer was placed back on paid administrative leave Thursday, Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said. Former-mayor Wayne Willich placed Hammer on leave Nov. 18. She had returned to active duty status Dec. 27.
Fire Chief Jeff Carnes was back on the job Tuesday, only to be placed back on leave Thursday. Carnes told the Idaho Mountain Express that he had been put on paid administrative leave as of Dec. 20. Then-mayor Wayne Willich would not confirm that. Willich did, however, say before swearing in Mayor-elect Briscoe that Carnes was on duty Tuesday, Jan. 3. Briscoe confirmed Thursday that Carnes was placed on leave as of Jan. 5.
When asked why Hammer and Carnes were placed on leave, Briscoe referred the Express to attorney Kirtlan Naylor, who was appointed by Sun Valley's insurance carrier to represent the city in a lawsuit brought by Hammer against the city. Naylor told the Express that he could not comment on why the staffers were on leave, other than to say the leaves were paid and were not related to any disciplinary action.