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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 3 - 9 , 2002


Ketchum fire chief to retire

City approves access for more broadband

Express Staff Writer

Ketchumís fire chief announced his retirement Monday. The city approved right-of-way for a broad band telecommunications project. And city officials continued to put off a decision about hiring a transportation planner, a position the city slated in the fiscal yearís budget.

Ketchum Fire Chief Tom Johnson has been the cityís top fireman for 16 years and has ushered the city and the Ketchum Rural Fire District through unprecedented growth.

He will retire in August, Mayor Ed Simon announced at a Ketchum City Council meeting Monday.

"Itís been a pleasure to work with Tom. Heís a true pro," said Ketchum City Administrator Jim Jaquet, who also is retiring this spring.

Jaquet has worked with Johnson for the fire chiefís entire 16 years in service here.

"Tom has excelled as the Ketchum Fire Chief and the Chief of the Ketchum Rural Fire District, as well as the head of the emergency medical services, and has really taken the lead in updating the fire department," Jaquet said. "He really showed great leadership with implementing the paramedic program."

Simon said the city will soon begin advertising to fill the position.

He also said the city will soon begin interviewing candidates for the city administrator position. First, a hiring firm and the city must narrow a field of 27 applicants.

Once the field is narrowed, the city council and a citizensí committee will interview candidates. The citizensí committee will include six local residents: Ketchum Building Inspector Dennis Wheeler, long-time Ketchum resident Brent Barsotti, former Telluride city administrator Virginia Eggers, Sun Valley Water and Sewer District Manager and former Sun Valley City Administrator Jack Brown, Ketchum citizen Bill Swanson and Ketchum City Engineer Dick Fosbury.

In other news, the city council unanimously gave its blessing for Syringa Networks to bury broadband fiber optics cables beneath Second Avenue, Tenth Street and various city rights-of-way as part of a valley-wide project that will give residents and businesses another telecommunications edge by this fall.

Ketchumís leaders stipulated that construction must be finished by June 28, which would avoid the cityís peak tourist season.

Finally, for the cityís proposed transportation planner, Mayor Simon said he continues to doubt whether or not the position is necessary.

"Iím not convinced we need the position to begin with," Simon said. "Second, we donít have the space."

Between early January and mid-February, the city received resumes from seven applicants for the position.

At Simonís suggestion, the city council asked Planning Administrator Lisa Horowitz to talk with the applicants to convey the cityís political conundrum. Meanwhile, however, the council remains polarized on the issue.

Councilman Maurice Charlat said the city should wait for the results of a transportation study the city contracted. Councilman Baird Gourlay said the city has money in its budget and a plethora of transportation issues for a planner to wrestle with.

The issue will be on the cityís April 15 agenda.


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.