Sean Coletti, LegalZoom network attorney, not only provides legal plan members with honest and heartfelt legal advice, he’s also the Mayor of Ammon, Idaho. Balancing a law practice and his duties as mayor is “an exciting challenge. Problem solving is what we do as attorneys, and it’s also what you do as a mayor.”
Read on to learn how Sean is keeping busy with several city projects, including a unique open access fiber system known nationwide as the Ammon Model.
It’s been almost 10 months since you were sworn in as mayor of Ammon. How has life been different in that time?
I now have two primary work locations, but I decided I only really needed one office—the one I already had. I try to economize my time as much as possible and do city work at my office or, occasionally, legal work at the city, because the city building and my law office are on two different sides of town. But overall, the position brings with it many more meetings, an incredible amount of additional responsibility, and an exciting new challenge. I have found my legal skills are very beneficial at the City, and the skills I am developing at the City help my legal practice as well.
Has it been challenging trying to balance a law practice with a public position?
Yes, but as I said it’s an exciting challenge. Problem solving is what we do as attorneys, and it’s also what you do as a Mayor. Juggling Mayor and a full-time law practice has forced me to develop some better habits. For instance, I have really had to learn how to delegate better! Better use of paralegals, assistants and associates has been vital. As Mayor, I have also heavily utilized good help from people like the City Administrator and my Mayor’s Assistant. Department heads really are the experts in the City, so it is vital to utilize their experience.
I have also had to become even better at following a schedule. My assistants at work and at the city can view and place appointments on the same digital calendar. This has helped my overall sanity. Better delegation, better work in teams as opposed to as an individual, and better scheduling has made me more successful in what I do.
What sort of new initiatives has the City taken on since you became mayor?
There are many, but here are a few. Believe it or not, the City of Ammon is one of the last cities over 10,000 (we have around 16,000 residents) that has unmetered water. So this year has been focused on installing meters and implementing metered water rates. Obviously, metering water helps to conserve what is a limited resource. That is a big challenge for residents that are not used to it.We are also one of the first small cities in the nation to implement an open access, opt-in broadband fiber to the home (FTTH) system. Ours is referred to nationwide as the “Ammon Model.” A big push has been to increase the speed of our buildout to residential subdivisions across the city. New businesses are also attracted to our unique system.
I have tasked my team with finding ways for us to improve our funding mechanism for buildout and improvement of city streets. We have one of the lowest tax levies in the State of Idaho, so it is a struggle to take good care of streets. I think that is a struggle nationwide.
Finally, I have encouraged more citizen involvement and community service. I have realized more than ever that cities can’t do everything. They need a strong backbone of community volunteer organizations and individuals committed to growing their city’s prosperity, culture, and overall quality of life. I think a Mayor has a strong role to play in encouraging that involvement.
What do you hope for the City to achieve in the next few years?
I hope to accomplish a lot of what I said above. Finishing our water meter installs and conversion to metered water, buildout of FTTH throughout the city within five years, and there are several road, bridge and intersection projects I have my eye on. I am also working to develop that sense of place to attract and retain individuals, families and businesses.
We have an extremely safe, happy, prosperous city. I can only hope to enhance that during my time as Mayor.