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Jim Keating to Succeed Walt Femling at Sun Valley
Saturday, December 31, 2022


Jim Keating, the former director of the Blaine County Recreation District, has been tapped to take the place of Walt Femling as Sun Valley’s city administrator.

Femling is retiring but will be retained as a consultant for such projects as the Greenhorn First Responder Housing Project, the Festival Meadow improvement project and overseeing the Emergency Services contract with the Blaine County Ambulance District.

Femling headed up the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years, during which he orchestrated security for Herbert Allen’s annual business conference which brings heads of state and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates to Sun Valley.  He even found his way into a couple Ridley Pearson detective novels set in the Sun Valley area.

He joined the City of Sun Valley as its police chief 10 years ago, then served as director of Public Safety before becoming city administrator five years ago. Mayor Peter Hendricks will award him the keys to the City of Sun Valley at the beginning of the 4 p.m. Jan. 5 council meeting.

“While Walt’s contributions over the past 10 years for the betterment of the city will be difficult to surpass, I believe we have found a worthy replacement in Jim Keating,” said Mayor Peter Hendricks, who will seek Council confirmation for Keating at the Jan. 5 meeting.

Keating, an avid tennis player who hails from New Orleans, was the executive director of the Blaine County Recreation District for 13 years. During that time, he oversaw the development of the Community Campus Fitworks exercise studio, HUB afterschool program and the reconstruction of the bike path that stretches from Bellevue to Ketchum.

He and his staff collaborated with others to build 45 miles of summer mountain biking, hiking and equestrian tails at Galena Lodge and expand Nordic trails in Quigley Canyon. And he oversaw the expansion and remodeling of the Aquatics Center, while laying the groundwork for the bike park at Quigley.

He also collaborated on an interactive trails report on the BCRD website, which is updated nearly daily to show where sheep are grazing in summer and where trails remain muddy in spring.

He left the BCRD in 2020, much to the dismay of many, to work in the world of high tech. But he continued to volunteer for several community organizations, including the Blaine Economic Recovery Committee. Keating’s wife Courtney Gilbert is a curator for the Sun Valley Museum of Arts, responsible for curating many of the museum’s BIG IDEA projects.


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