City Government

Boise Taxes Go to Private Lobbyists

The recent GUARDIAN piece questioning WHO calls the shots regarding the Boise City position on state legislation has prompted increased communication among Boise Councilors.

It seems council president Elaine Clegg gave direction to lobbyist Lyn Darrington on how to testify on a bill that would impact Boise’s urban renewal agency, the CCDC. She told the GUARDIAN it was a “no brainer” on how the city should view the proposed bill which would have mandated election of board members by the public–she was against it.

She said there was “nothing nefarious” about the way things are being handled with regard to the Idaho Legislature adding, “We have taken measures to increase communication among council members with weekly e-mails from the lobbyist.”

She said councilors were welcome to attend a weekly Monday meeting to get further updates regarding legislative issues effecting Boise. We applaud the move.

The GUARDIAN did some further checking and finds that on January 16 Boise Councilors hired not only the local Gallatin Group and lobbyist Lyn Darrington for $45,000, but they also hired another firm, Ball Janik LLP for $66,000 to do their bidding with the Feds. united_states_capitol1.jpg

Each private lobbying firm is to be the “primary point of contact” between Boise and the Feds or State government.

We find this to be downright absurd!

We have ELECTED state and federal senators and representatives. We have ELECTED city councilors and a mayor. The system is dysfunctional if we need to BUY influence through lobbyists to be heard in the legislative halls of America. We are sickened at learning of this new practice.

Here is the job description in the city contract:
Scope of Work:
1) Serve as a consistent and effective primary point of contact between the City of Boise and State
agency officials and elected representatives.
2) Assist with development and execution of the City of Boise’s 2007 State legislative agenda,
including analysis, preparation, coordination, and filing of legislative items, whether statutory or
Constitutional in nature.
3) Identify, prioritize, monitor, and respond to State legislative and regulatory proposals that have
potential implications for the City of Boise and its operations, and report back regularly to City
officials regarding the status of these items.
4) Schedule and conduct frequent and regular meetings with State lawmakers, Legislative staff, City
of Boise officials, and representatives of the City’s governmental and community partners before,
during and after the 2007 State Legislative session.
5) Represent the interests of the City during the 2007 State Legislative session by regularly attending committee meetings, monitoring floor votes, preparing correspondence with key lawmakers, and providing relevant testimony when applicable.
6) Consult on a regular basis with City of Boise officials, including the Mayor, members of the City
Council, Department heads, and other City staff and advisers about the status of and strategy
regarding State legislative and statutory issues.

The BOISE WEEKLY did a story mentioning the lobbying contracts earlier and we expect a bigger one soon from the STATESMAN.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’m not so offended by the practice. It just looks like another form of out-sourcing. If it were done internally, it looks like a staff liaison position.

    I would like to see the reports and other results of their work. Will we have access to that info because they are external rather than internal workers?

  2. Way to go!
    The Guardian scores on one, and gets another one going.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. I agree with Whitdit. Probably a needed position because the job description looks to be more than lobbying. I do not see why this could not be an internal position. By joining the state and federal lobbyist, there would be more than enough money to keep somebody busy. Plus the citizens would have better access to the information and paperflow.

  4. All the items listed ought to be handled by a staff person already on the payroll.

    Looks like the city is rolling in money. Amazing what you can do when you tuck away $10 million tax payer dollars.

  5. We look forward to seeing all the emails from the lobbyist – they are public record and we hope they get posted. ALONG with any replies from council.

  6. Last time I checked the Mayor get’s paid $91,229 a year and Councilors get paid $19,375 a year. They also have a seemingly endless supply of staffers available. I would hope that they wouldn’t have to hire additional outsiders to keep up with the politics of the day.

    We also have the Association of Idaho Cities, Compass, Association of Counties, and several private groups (your favorite the Chamber of Commerce) who are spenidng similar amounts of money to keep all of our ELECTED city officials up to speed on current legislative issues…..And to think, we only pay the legislators themselves $10 per day. Seems the system is a little out of balance somewhere.

  7. GUARDIAN–I wouldn’t be surprised if Team Dave spends campaign money getting you assigned to take pictures in Siberia! Your Brazil trip gave them a two week break and now you come back and challenge lobbying and market surveys.

    Logically speaking, those Monday “legislative strategy meetings” should be public and any “strategies” should also be made public. Let’s hope Boise leaders are not like the Republican Caucus which meets in closed session.

  8. I just read that Statesman article on the lobbyist. Let me see if I have this straight–they talked to a City employee whose job it is to talk to the press (Duncan) about hiring lobbyists from two firms whose job it will be to represent one set of elected officials to another group of elected officials.

    God I am glad I don’t get all the government I pay for.

  9. Aren’t the heads of cities, counties and state government supposed to talk to each other and meet with each other?

    It seems that all levels of government just keep getting larger just because the heads don’t want to talk or meet with each other. Now they hire lobbyists because government employees don’t want to talk to or meet with each other. What happens when the lobbyists don’t want to talk or meet with who hires them?

    Throw all the bums out!

  10. Looks like Boise’s politicos are following Arizona. It isn’t just developers from Cactusland who are exploiting Idaho. Take a look at the government-government lobbying and the costs in AZ.

  11. We hire lobbyists to protect us from those we elect.

  12. I’ve wondered why I get so worn out trying to confront “local” political flim-flams. It dawned on me that every time I turned around there was a new one, costing muy dinero tax monies and being rifled into law by either the state leg., county or city. That’s tiring….

    Secret bonuses, well-paid unneeded lobbyists, enhanced political nepotism, created bureaucratic fiefdoms(CCDC) used to create cover for elected officials spend-happy projects. All of this has taken front page in the last month!

    Of all CCDC is the most dangerous. City Meister Dave and team are now crowing about the multi-million dollar river road development, complete with a luxurious new library , that their spawned and unelected bureaucratic creation, CCDC, has voted in. Is this how Team Dave plans to maneuver around the law which states ” all new bond issues to pay for long term debt must be put to a vote?” City hall can say we didn’t do it, CCDC gave it 100% approval. Kushlan’s CCDC was never elected, never has any project voted on, and is therefore Mayor and Council’s way of hoodwinking the Taxpayer!

    Boise voters need to wake up or their taxes(PROPERTY!) will continue to face hefty increases thanks to a city government that uses every trick in the book to avoid fiscal responsibility.

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