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Ketchum sets May 15 special election

Councilman Larry Helzel to step down

by REBECCA MEANY

Ketchum City Councilman Larry Helzel announced he is stepping down from his position, effective the end of February.

The announcement came during the council's meeting Monday.

"Obviously, implicit in this decision is [that] I am not going to run for office in the upcoming May 15 special election," he said.

The terms of Helzel and Councilman Curtis Kemp were extended six months due to the failure of a change-in-government initiative during last November's election. Under Idaho code, because the change was voted down, the concurrent vote for council members was nullified.

Helzel stepped down from his position as council president Jan. 3.

"I'm sitting on the council right now only because of the quirk in Idaho election laws ... on the council-manager form of government," he said at the time. "I'm not serving illegally, but I'm not duly elected, either."

Councilman Baird Gourlay assumed the position as president.

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The two seats up for election had the initiative not been on the ballot will be decided on May 15.

The Blaine County Election Office will determine the locations of polling places.

"The city doesn't control that," City Attorney Stephanie Bonney said.

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall can nominate a temporary replacement for Helzel. The nominee would have to be approved by the council. Or, the seat can remain vacant until the May election.

Hall thanked Helzel for his service.

"You've been a great soldier in this team we've put together," he said. "You've been a good part of putting this community back on sound financial ground."

Helzel said he is moving to San Francisco to join his wife, Rebekah, who lives there, but will maintain a residence in Ketchum.

"This job has its wear and tear," he said. But, he added, "It's been a truly wonderful four years."

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

Time to run

Two Ketchum City Council seats will be up for election on May 15. The filing period is Feb. 27 through March 9. Though the Blaine County election office is not usually open on Fridays, it will be open Friday, March 9, until 5 p.m. to accept declarations of candidacy.



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