Friday, September 21, 2012

Ketchum utilities manager retires

Steve Hansen leaves city staff after 28 years

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Utilities Manager Steve Hansen is retiring after 28 years with the city. He is shown here at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on his last official day of work, Thursday, Sept. 20. Photo by David N. Seelig

Ketchum Utilities Manager Steve Hansen is retiring after a 28-year career with the city. Hansen was commended by Mayor Randy Hall at a City Council meeting Monday for his many years of service.

Hansen said in an interview that his last official day working for the city would be Thursday, Sept. 20.

“He’s a long-term, dedicated employee,” Hall said at the meeting. “He’s been a great leader of his department.”

Former City Administrator Jim Jaquet, who worked on many projects with Hansen over the years, spoke highly of him as well.

“Steve has filled every possible need we’ve had,” Jaquet said. “It’s been a pleasure for me to work with Steve. His is a retirement well-earned.”

Hansen spoke briefly about the state of the city’s utilities and his faith in the Utilities Department’s future.

“[Ketchum’s] water and sewer system is second to none in the state and will remain so,” he said.

In an interview, he said that “what’s important is that the water’s flowing and the people like it and that they can flush their toilets.”

Hall said Hansen’s work has had a big impact.

“The community thinks very highly of the work you’ve done,” he said. “We enjoy this lifestyle and you’ve had a big part in that.”

Hansen thanked his wife, Lisa, and his family, saying they “put up with” all the stressful times and late nights when there were utilities emergencies. He also thanked the public, the city and his staff.

“My profession is a behind-the-scenes profession,” he said in an interview. “I don’t usually get the chance to address the public. It was important for me to thank the city at the meeting because our parting of ways is a good one.”

In August, City Administrator Gary Marks told the Idaho Mountain Express that the city plans to hire a full-time public works director/city engineer to replace the utilities manager position held by Hansen. Marks predicted having an in-house engineer will save the city about $3,400 a year.

In an interview this week, Hall said the city has not yet sent out application requests for the new position. He said the Water Department and Wastewater Department heads, who worked directly under Hansen, would “step up” and make day-to-day decisions in the interim.

“[Hansen] will still be around as a consultant for some time,” Hall said. “These transitions take time.”

At the meeting, Hansen said working for the city has been both a “pleasure” and a “privilege.”

“My grandchildren and family are calling,” he said. “It’s been great, but it’s time to move on.”

Brennan Rego:

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