Friday, January 25, 2013

City of Sun Valley needs partners, not frenemies


Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe’s decision to hire former Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling to pinch-hit while Sun Valley Police Chief Cam Daggett is on medical leave to recover from heart surgery was a good call.

Daggett told the city he will be away from the job for an indeterminate amount of time. The mayor reported that the well-liked, long-time chief is thinking of retiring. We wish the chief a speedy recovery.

Femling retired in 2011 and is a private consultant to law enforcement agencies around the West. He left behind a solid and well-run department that was shaped by his sure and steady leadership.

Briscoe took pains to make it clear that Femling’s appointment isn’t part of any move to consolidate the city’s police department with the county. There’s no reason to doubt it.

However, if Daggett retires, the city should look seriously at consolidating with county law enforcement by contract.

The city of Ketchum did so in 2009. It wanted to streamline and improve its law enforcement operations, which had turned in at least one notable investigative failure, and to save money. It found it could also save an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 over four years by reducing managerial overhead. The city retained its ability to control salaries and benefits paid to Ketchum officers and to determine the range of law enforcement services it receives. Even though the county carries out law enforcement duties in Ketchum, the city always has the option to reconstitute its own police department if it wants to.

By all accounts, Ketchum has been happy with the results of its decision.

At one time or another, every city and taxing district in Blaine County has been guilty of dismissing the idea of consolidating some services—even when it would improve them and save money. Differences in style, turf battles and pride of place—the quintessentially Western propensity to insist that “we can do it ourselves”—have gotten in the way.

Under former Mayor Wayne Willich, the city of Sun Valley tried hard to make itself an island. It bickered with other cities and the county over fire and dispatch services and marketing. It argued that the city was overtaxed and underserved. The bickering damaged the city’s relationships and ability to work with other elected officials.

As the city begins to emerge from the turmoil of events surrounding a forensic audit of its operations, it should examine how to form valuable alliances with other cities and the county. Looking at a merger of its police department with the county would be a good first step.

Creating partnerships will serve the city far better than making frenemies.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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.