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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 22 - 28, 2003


Charlat bows out
of City Council race

"I do not feel satisfied," incumbent says

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Councilman Maurice Charlat announced publicly Monday night that he is no longer seeking re-election to the four-person legislative panel.

"I am withdrawing my name as a candidate for Ketchum City Council," Charlat said midway through the council’s Oct. 20 meeting at City Hall.

Charlat said he is withdrawing from the race because he is "not getting the psychic reward" or the "intellectual reward" that he seeks from his work. "I do not feel satisfied," he added.

Charlat told fellow council members and a small contingent of the public at the meeting that he made his decision shortly after a pre-election question-and-answer forum with City Council candidates conducted by the Idaho Mountain Express last Thursday night. Charlat said he felt strongly that sentiments voiced at the "Pizza and Politics" event last Thursday at City Hall expressed "a lot of anger" and "not one encouraging word."

The announcement Monday brought sentiments of regret from Council President Randy Hall, who is seeking to retain his seat in the Nov. 4 election. "I want Maurice to know how much I appreciate the last four years," Hall said. "I’m kind of speechless right now."

Councilman Baird Gourlay—whose seat is not up for re-election for another two years—also expressed disappointment in the announcement. "I think we’ll miss you," he said. "I kind of looked forward to you being here."

The decision by Charlat to pull out of the race might complicate the voting process for numerous Ketchum residents. Charlat has been a strong force on the council and is respected among his peers for his willingness to take a stand on controversial issues.

With Charlat out of the race, five candidates will now be on the Nov. 4 ballot that will determine two seats on the council. The terms of both Charlat and Hall will expire on Jan. 4, 2003.

The field of candidates now comprises incumbent Hall, Mickey Garcia, Greg Strong, Terry Tracy and Larry Young. City officials said Charlat’s name will be crossed off the election ballots.

Charlat assured his fellow council members and city staffers present Monday that he will continue to serve out his term. "I’ll be as diligent as I can possibly be between now and January," he said.

In an interview prior to his public announcement Monday, Charlat said he did not think it would be fair to Ketchum citizens if he sought and gained election and then later decided to leave his post. "I would like to get out now," he said, "because there is a chance I might be re-elected, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to step down in the middle of a term."

Charlat said he believes a lack of civility in discussions of city issues has hindered the ability of city government to function at its most-efficient level.

"I really like this place, and I want to keep on liking it," he said. "I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to go through the process any longer."

Charlat said the decision to exit the race was not prompted by a related decision to pursue other ambitions.

The councilman noted Monday that he believes the city is in a position to flourish in the coming years. He reiterated that he is still confident the city can erase its approximately $500,000 projected debt and establish a sizable monetary surplus before the close of the 2003-2004 fiscal year. "There is no budget problem at all," he said.



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