Friday, January 6, 2012

Gourlay named Ketchum council president

Helzel relinquishes position but stays on council

Express Staff Writer

Longtime Ketchum City Councilman Baird Gourlay was elected by fellow council members Tuesday as council president, an action precipitated by Councilman Larry Helzel's resignation as president.

"I'm sitting on the council right now only because of the quirk in Idaho election laws ... on the council-manager form of government," Helzel said. "I'm not serving illegally, but I'm not duly elected, either."

In November, Ketchum voters rejected a change in government to a council-manager system. Idaho law states that if such an initiative fails, the concurrent vote for council members is void.

Had it passed, four of the five elected officials who fill the four council seats and the mayor's seat would have been retained in office. Helzel would not have been among them.

Idaho code mandates that the council members who would have been up for election had the initiative not been on the ballot keep their seats until a new election is called.

Council seats held by Curtis Kemp and Helzel will be put to a vote, most likely in May.

The council will elect a new president next January, after voters determine those two seats.

Rebecca Meany:

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