Commishes Legal Fees Climb

The Ada County Commissioners have spent $6, 480 in taxpayer funds so far to defend themselves against civil penalties of $150.

They have been charged by the Attorney General with violating the Idaho open meeting law when they went into executive session last June and discussed the Emergency Medical Services program and what it would take to get a bond passed.

Bet the AG never figured the taxpayers would have to pony up over six grand when he filed the charges! The case is still pending following a motion for summary judgment filed by the AG asking the court to rule in favor of the state without further hearings or trial based upon testimony of Boise City Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt who was in the meeting.

This is sort of a case of People vs People. People of Idaho vs Ada County Commishes funded by the People on both sides. Amazing what money will do.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Makes you wonder why they didn’t just pay the penalty and why the residents of Ada County are actually going to pony up the money for the bill. They shouldn’t, there is no legal basis for it.

  2. The county board is composed partly of a tax cheat and a dishonorable former legislator. They continue to act as though whatever they want to do is the right thing to do. The rules say what they want them to say. And how dare you ask questions?

    Do you suppose this is “in my face” enough to get Rick Yzaguirre’s attention?

  3. Sharon Ullman
    Nov 25, 2005, 5:18 pm

    Crim445: You say we Ada County residents SHOULDN’T pony up the money to pay the legal bills for the commissioners’ private attorney. Since when did paying our taxes become optional (unless of course you’re commission Chairman Rick Yzaguirre!)?

    Curmudgeon: You indicate that Fred Tilman is a “dishonorable” former legislator. I have usually heard pretty good things about Tilman as a legislator – it’s the job he is doing as a county commissioner that leaves a lot of room for improvement. Is there anything specific about his years in the legislature that we ought to know?

    As for the commissioners and what it would take to get an EMS bond passed, it would seem that a whole new commission that has some credibility with the taxpaying voters would help a lot.

  4. Treva Hamilton
    Nov 26, 2005, 12:59 am

    The commissioners are: a tax cheat, a person who stands up for him and then lies about standing up for him, and Tilman. I really think there should be five part time commissioners so that we don’t always have a two against one situation. You’ve been there, Sharon, what do you think?
    By the way, who did the Commissioners hire to defend them? Sounds like a overcharge situation to me.

  5. Sharon Ullman
    Nov 26, 2005, 11:31 am

    The commissioners hired Patrick Furey to defend them – the same fellow who represented Arnell Jones and Lariat Productions AGAINST Ada County. Talk about sleeping with the enemy…!

    There are pros and cons to having five part-time commissioners. When I was on the commission, I voted to put such a proposal on the ballot and let the public decide what kind of Ada County government we should have but I was outvoted — 2-to-1 of course!

    Having a larger number of part-time commissioners would prevent the two-against-one situation, but that is still no guarantee that we would have better government or that the five (or whatever number) of part-time commissioners would get along.

    Elected officials who agree on everything do not necessarily make for good government either. That means they are likely making decisions behind the scenes and then coming out publicly to vote on the agreed-upon outcome. Consensus is more important to them than good decisions. And of course with such an arrangement, no one in the group tells the public about the blatant Idaho Open Meeting Law violations.

    Having more part-time commissioners WOULD allow for more public representation, more points of view to be brought to the table, a greater breadth of backgrounds and experience, and more elected officials to provide constituent services.

    If part of the appeal of going to part-time commissioners is to save tax dollars on salaries and benefits, then it might or might not work, depending on what those costs are for the part-time commissioners and a full-time elected executive or appointed administrator. (Salaries alone for the current trio cost us over $256,000 as The Guardian has pointed out.)

    The bottom line is that instead of having me debate this issue with myself, the type of county government we have should be decided by the voters. With the question on the ballot, all of the relevant issues can be publicly raised and debated first.

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