Walt Femling, director of public safety in Sun Valley since 2017, was promoted to the city’s vacant position of city administrator during a City Council meeting Thursday.

Mayor Peter Hendricks appointed Femling to the position on June 1, though state law required ratification by the City Council. The position of Public Safety Director will be eliminated.

Femling served as Blaine County sheriff six times between 1986 and 2008 and as Sun Valley’s chief of police for four years beginning in September 2013.

“He has been instrumental in the Sun Valley Police and Fire departments as well as the city’s contract for operation and management of Ketchum Rural Fire Department,” Hendricks said during Thursday’s meeting. “Walt’s dedication to excellence and building the departments and leaders, to raising all who work with him to his high standards reflects on his unequal commitment to his public service responsibilities. He is a most valuable asset of the city and we are fortunate to have him.”

The position of city administrator has been vacant since last August when the former administrator resigned to accept a job in Augusta, Maine.

In previous reporting by the Mountain Express, Sun Valley City Clerk Nancy Flannigan said the city had hired Protham, an executive search firm based in Washington state, for recruitment of the position. According to the city’s 2020 budget, $20,000 was budgeted for the search firm and candidate interview expenses.

The city did not respond by press deadline on Tuesday to questions of how much of that money was spent, since the city ultimately filled the position in-house.

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