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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 July 17 - 23, 2002


Departing director proposes consolidated housing authority

"The proposed structure (of a Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority) would give more of a level of accountability. They’d have justification to either fund us or not fund us (based on performance)."

- GATES KELLETT, Ketchum and Blaine County Housing director

Express Staff Writer

The local housing program’s organizational structure is broken and needs to be fixed.

That is the message Ketchum and Blaine County Housing Director Gates Kellett attempted to get across to the Ketchum City Council Monday night. Her message was met with lukewarm enthusiasm.

"The whole point of this is to correct what is not working right now. This position, that of the housing director, is not clear," Kellett said.

Kellett, who is resigning in August to work for a housing program near Atlanta, said ambiguity and unnecessary duplication is created because she answers to both the city of Ketchum and to the Blaine County Housing Authority. Rather than create a double layer of confusing bureaucracy, she suggested that Ketchum loosen the reins and allow an expanded county housing authority to do its job.

"It would basically create something like a Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority," Kellett said.

She said having a housing director answer to both the Ketchum City Council and to the housing authority is a "convoluted way to get a sense of control."

"The proposed structure would give more of a level of accountability," she said. "They’d have justification to either fund us or not fund us (based on performance)."

Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon, however, said he wants the elected officials to control personnel issues and added that he is concerned about the housing authority’s shaky track record on getting affordable units built.

"I want oversight," he said.

Simon said that while he believes Kellett’s proposal has merit, it could be too much too fast.

"I’m in favor of anything that gets results," he said. "If we have to take it one step at a time, that’s what we need to do."

Kellett said she would present the proposal, which would require a joint powers agreement, to the Blaine County Commission on Thursday at an 11:30 a.m. budget hearing at the Old County Courthouse.

"We are just looking to do what most other housing authorities do," she said.


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