Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hall defends decision to stay on City Council

Councilman says mayor?s critical comments unfounded

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Council President Randy Hall this week defended his decision to decline a job with the city Fire Department, saying that Mayor Ed Simon ?missed it? when he alleged the move would be a detriment to local residents.

In responding Monday to comments by Simon last week that char-acterized the decision as ?disgrace-ful,? Hall said he has no regrets about using local public funding to advance his paramedic career because he routinely serves taxpayers in his existing on-call Ketchum Fire Department job.

?I am not ashamed one little bit about the money that I get,? Hall said. ?I think it?s been false and misleading, the statements that (the mayor) made.?

Hall added that Simon?s statements made to the Idaho Mountain Express last week helped to confirm his decision to not become one of the mayor?s full-time employees.

The issue came to a head Wednesday, Aug. 4, when Hall told Ketchum Fire Department Chief Greg Schwab that he would not accept a full-time paramedic position offered on July 23.

If Hall had taken the city job, he likely would have been asked to resign from his elected office pursuant to a case-law legal precedent that declared City Council positions and city-employee positions are incompatible offices.

At the time, Hall said the primary factor in his decision was his desire to retain his seat on the City Council.

Pursuant to the decision, Hall will retain a one-day-per-week paramedic position with Magic Valley Regional Medical Center, in Twin Falls, as well as his paid, part-time, on-call position with the Ketchum Fire Department.

Simon said he believes Hall?s decision was ?selfish? and ?disgraceful? because Hall had accepted local public funds to complete a com-pressed paramedic-training course earlier this year.

Hall said Monday that he accepted $2,000 from a Ketchum Fire Department fund that supports training and education programs and received an additional $3,800 from the St. Luke?s Wood River Medical Center Founda-tion?which routinely supports healthcare and training programs in the Wood River Valley.

Hall said he personally paid the balance of the approximately $12,000 cost of his paramedic training.

The councilman said he works as a part-time paramedic in Twin Falls for $8.55 per hour. In Ketchum, he said, he has established one of the highest response rates to local emergencies, responding to 215 calls so far this year.

?I?m obviously not doing it for the money,? he said.

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