City Government

Felony Flushed In Poop Farm Plea

Former Boise Poop Farm Manager Dave Skinner copped a plea on misdemeanor charges of misusing public funds at the Twenty Mile South facility.

To hear the Statesman and mayor tell it, vigilant managers in your local government caused good to triumph over evil.

“Team Dave” leader, Mayor Dave Bieter, told the Idaho Statesman’s Brad Hem, “This case sends a loud and clear message that misuse of taxpayer dollars will not be tolerated and those who do so will be held accountable.” The safeguards that the City Council and I have put into place did what they were supposed to do: brought the wrongdoing to light, and brought the perpetrator to justice.”

The GUARDIAN doesn’t see it that way and neither do the good honest employees working for the City of Boise. They did their best to get things corrected and were thwarted in their efforts to bring honesty and integrity to the work place.

They came to the GUARDIAN with details as a last resort. When we confronted city leaders about the alleged misdeeds they repeatedly told us it was only a “personality conflict.” Later they said it was a “personnel issue,” but only after the GUARDIAN posted details and forwarded documents to councilors did they call for an audit–many months after initial reports.

Team Dave and the Councilors are simply in denial. We don’t think for a minute they were involved or condoned illegal or unethical acts in city departments, but the system they have is simply not working. The city council and purchasing department were not even aware of improper contracts and purchases until we forced the issue.

Finally, the auditor uncovered repeated violations of city policy and state law during the investigation and then resigned in the middle of the mess. HE HAS NOT BEEN REPLACED. Boise’s $150,000,000 annual taxpayer funded spending is without a forensic auditor–a position councilor Vern Bisterfeldt said is, “worth its weight in gold,” following the debacle of the Cole’s administration.

Use the search engine at the top right of the page and type in “POOP” to get the entire history of this story. It is not a pretty smell.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. concerned insider
    May 12, 2006, 9:09 am

    Happy Birthday Guardian and thanks for making the action at city farm possible.

    A special thanks to all the current and ex-employees of Boise City that provided the Guardian with the information needed to force the city to take action.

    No thanks to that Mayor and those who want un-do credit. Had senior management not turned a blind eye, none of this would of went on as long as it did nor the huge amounts of money wasted.

  2. Guardian, you seem to have lost sight of Political Rule #1:
    Take credit for everything that is good and deflect responsibility for anything that is bad.

    This administration has perfected the process.

  3. How ironic, Tammy Rice misuses less than $200 and goes to jail. Skinner deliberately steals over $3,000 and gets his hand slapped.

    Some how Skinner also managed to deflect numerous other charges, I think that this whitewash is probably tied into the reason why the Auditor left the city. The whole debacle still stinks to high heaven. I wonder if an “odor” complaint at the federal level would generate some real action.

    I can tell you that the ethics hotline as it is currently set up will NOT get to the bottom of any issues such as this in the future. Any problem once reported will be buried under the guise of a personnel issue the same way that the poop problems were initially covered up. The only reason the poop farm problems were addressed, after years of complaints and questions, was because the Guardian exposed them to a strong dose of sunlight.

    The strong message that I hear is that team Dave still does not have a clue.

    PS Happy birthday on this 12th day of May and continue to look at the rhetoric from city hall with a cynical and discerning eye.

  4. Way to go, Guardian! You’re really earning that title!

    — gp

  5. Hey BIG – hang in there! The reason Tammy got the whammy was because smart people were doing the investigation and fact checking.

    The reason Skinner got off is because Team Dave is completely incompetent from the ground up. They are so busy trying to make sure Master Bieter looks like the caped crusader – rooting out crime and corruption – instead of paying attention to the real graft and corruption.

    Get used to this. Screwing up on Skinner is just the latest in what will surely be a long list of similar acts.

    We all know Team Dave reads this stuff and I am sure they get all puffed up and shrug the comments off as if they didn’t care and we didn’t matter. That is too bad. Instead of pretending to know what they are doing, they could look internally and make room for folks who actually know what they are doing.

    Since they won’t do that, it is up to people like us to recruit good people to run against them when the time comes.

  6. As a city employee of more years than I care to count, I can say that what we now have in place is a filter system to safeguard city officialials.

    Except for outlets like the Boise Guardian there is no way to resolve serious internal concerns.

    Complaints go unanswered and can result in a form of retaliation.

  7. “this case serves as an example…”
    See, I thought the other cases served as an example. Did people really think Coles, Lyman and Rice were the only ones misusing public monies? It was the tip of the iceberg.

    If everyone who ever outright stole something from the City, misappropriated funds by circumventing sole source purchasing requirements, splitting invoices, using City discounts for personal purchases, were to go to jail…I think turnover would take on a whole new meaning.

    Add to that those who sorely abuse sick leave, use city computers for hours and hours of porn viewing each day, show up to work late smelling of alcohol and leave early for happy hour, those who dummy up timesheets and don’t actually put in the hours, who claim overtime for sitting in airport lounges waiting for a plane, those who sexually and racially harass others causing the City to pay out legal fees and claims..well you get my drift.

    There’s more than one way to commit a felony and the City is a veritable buffet of how to’s. Dare I say a majority of employees would never make it in the “real” world.

    EDITOR NOTE–Tam, no doubt you have examples of each sin listed. However the VAST MAJORITY of city employes are honest and deserve a better system to preserve etchics and integrity in the workplace.

  8. Concerned Insider
    May 14, 2006, 2:24 pm


    I take offense to your stereotyping city employees into the negative image as you’ve done.

    I’ll be the first to agree that there is waste, theft and corruption at the city; in fact you’ll find that most anywhere you go, in or outside of government, thus the need for the Boise Guardian, etc., However, I think that you’ll find most government employees to be hard working honest folks just wanting to do their job.

    I think you’ll find it takes high professional standards to get on with the city and many that do take a pay cut in doing so. What government does offer is good a retirement plan, health benefits and job stability (the city will hopefully be around for awhile). The city attracts and keeps good qualified employees because they are for the most part a fair and balance employer.

    From a few of the things you pointed out, I would dare say you are not a current employee of the City of Boise.

    I do believe the majority of city employees are good people. I also know that an organization, like a city, has its own unique culture. As long as there is a culture of coverup and deception, there will be employee issues with ethics. The auditor position is an example of killing the messenger. I don’t think he was let go, I think he quit out of frustration. He went to IHF and took a position without many of the challenges he had with the City. As long as those who bring the issues forward are treated worse than those who committed the wrong doing to begin with, new employees will be enculturated the same as the long term folks. I was exercising my own cynicism and didn’t mean to intimate that all people are bad. It’s just that for many it becomes “when in Rome”

  9. Tam,

    I must agree with your assessment of the cover-up and that about the auditors position, most do.

    Yes there was a cover-up (still is) and it is now looking like it goes much deeper than first thought. However, good luck in proving it.

    There clearly needs to be an outside investigation, but you can bet the city will not easily allow that to happen. Knowing what some of us know, I can’t blame them for that. I wouldn’t either.

  10. Most companies have what is called an “Internal Audit” department to ensure funds are not mis-used. Sounds like the Mayor and City Council are too chicken to do the same.

    If you never investigate you will never find the problems and no one will ever blame you….but that is a VERY poor way to do business especailly with public funds.

    If they had any guts they would realize that exposing problems shows that they care and they know what is going on…oops, maybe they really don’t.

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