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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 11 - 17, 2002


Hailey mayor prepares new agenda

Wants to bring jobs, businesses to city

"I have some long-term goals I’ll be bringing forward in the new year"

— SUSAN MCBRYANT, Hailey mayor

Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant said last week she is eager to leave behind the turmoil surrounding the resignation last month of former mayor Al Lindley and establish a new set of forward-thinking goals for the city.

In an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express Thursday, Dec. 5, McBryant said she believes the state of the city’s affairs is generally very good, but city residents and staff can expect some changes.

"Everyone has their own manner or style of doing business," she said. "I’m very efficient, so things will get done in a timely manner."

She added, "I will not work in a void. I will work within Idaho Code."

McBryant was appointed to be the city’s mayor on Nov. 25 to replace Lindley, who after his resignation Nov. 8 was accused of sometimes independently making key decisions for the city.

The new mayor said she has devoted a significant amount of time in the last two weeks reviewing the city’s business affairs and getting settled into the $14,000-per-year job.

"I’m putting in an awful lot of time right now," she said. "I would like to be moving forward by the middle of January."

McBryant, 48, is a native of American Falls, Idaho, and has lived in Hailey since 1979. She graduated from the University of Idaho before getting married in 1976 and relocating to Thousand Oaks, Calif., for a three-year period.

With her husband of 26 years, David McBryant, she has since 1995 owned and directed Sun Country Management, a Sun Valley-based homeowners’ association management company.

McBryant served on the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission from November 1992 to January 1997, when she was appointed to the Hailey City Council to replace outgoing council member Mary Ann Mix. (Mix left the council after she was elected to sit on the Blaine County Board of Commissioners.)

McBryant was elected to finish the last two years of Mix’s term in November 1997, and was re-elected to the seat for a four-year term in November 1999.

She was sworn in as the city’s new mayor on Nov. 25, after the City Council unanimously voted to appoint her to replace Lindley, who abruptly resigned Nov. 8 after council members expressed a unanimous vote of no confidence in his performance.

As the new mayor, McBryant said she wants to first achieve a smooth transition into the office, and then proceed with developing a long-range plan for managing the city.

She said her immediate goals for the city include ensuring the timely construction of a new city water tank proposed for a site in Quigley Canyon and the installation of water meters in neighborhoods throughout the city.

"I have some long-term goals I’ll be bringing forward in the new year," she said.

McBryant said one of the principal challenges facing city officials in the future will be to attract and retain businesses that provide quality jobs.

"Putting our dollars back into our community, that’s our greatest challenge," she said, pointing to a caravan of commuters on Hailey’s Main Street heading north to Ketchum.

The mayor noted that she believes city officials effectively managed a pronounced period of growth in Hailey in the 1990s, and that the city overall is poised for a positive future.

She said that she and members of the City Council "don’t necessarily have the same goals," but do share some common values that will encourage cooperation on important issues.

"This is a body that listens to each other," she said.

When asked whether she thought city officials would need to cooperate with the county and other cities on certain matters, McBryant said she hopes to work toward balancing the placement of jobs and housing throughout the Wood River Valley.

She noted that Hailey has a relatively large population and only a moderate number of "good jobs," while Ketchum has significantly more jobs and considerably less affordable housing.

"We need to position (the jobs) where the people are," she said.

As for whether she thought she and members of the Hailey City Council should elaborate on their reasons for expressing a vote of no confidence in Lindley last month, McBryant said she believes the matter is "old news" that does not need to be revisited.

She noted that it has been the individual choice of city officials not to disclose details about alleged problems they claimed Lindley had handling of the job as chief administrator.

"We certainly don’t have a gag order put on us," McBryant said.

She said her personal reasons for losing confidence in Lindley were largely related to his ineffective handling of day-to-day business affairs—not matters that directly impacted citizens.

McBryant acknowledged that she was most concerned with Lindley’s alleged signature of two contracts on behalf of the city without first receiving the appropriate approval from the City Council.

McBryant and members of the council also have declined to comment on two alleged grievances filed by city employees against Lindley for alleged verbal sexual harassment, noting that the case is a confidential matter.

She said she did not anticipate that the city would pursue any legal complaints against the former mayor for any inappropriate actions he allegedly took.

"I don’t think we intend to spend any further dollars on legal action than what has already been spent," she said.

McBryant said that although she "seriously entertained" running against Lindley for mayor in the 2001 election, she has not definitively determined whether she will run in the November 2003 election to retain the office she gained last month.

"We’ll see where we are in a year," she said.


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