WOW! The Ada Commishes can get things done quickly when they want to.

After a Friday GUARDIAN posting brought allegations to their attention regarding SLAVE LABOR (a catchy headline we thought), they convened a hasty Tuesday meeting to discuss the practice of sentencing juvenile offenders to work at a private commercial enterprise.

The Commishes unanimously agreed at the Tuesday public meeting to abolish slavery. They said the practice of sentencing youth to work for free at a commercial enterprise was improper and ordered the juvenile services people to make community service just that–COMMUNITY service.

Chairman Fred Tilman told Ada juvenile services director Steven Dye in no uncertain terms, “If you have any legal questions regarding where to place juveniles on work details–don’t ask for legal advice, just don’t do it! We are not interested in seeing how close to the line we can come. Err on the side of caution.”

Tilman spoke for all three Commishes when he said, “Our policy is NOT to place kids in private businesses to complete community service.” The issue was discussed specifically because a GUARDIAN reader had made it public.

Discussion at the meeting revealed the “rationale” for allowing youth offenders to complete their court mandated free labor at a commercial pet grooming facility was OK because the facility in the past had done pro bono work (“free” for you non-library types) for the Humane Society. We thought that to be a stretch–sort of like providing free bagger staff at a super market if the store donates food to the zoo or a food bank.

Dye said youth offenders had been doing free labor for 5-6 years at the facility. He had asked the county attorney for a legal opinion July 30, but had not received an answer. When Commish Rick Yzaguirre was told children were still being assigned to the pet wash even after Dye had questioned the practice himself, the Commish said the practice should stop immediately.

Kudos to the commishes and the folks who run the juvenile facility. While they may not have monitored their program as closely as they should have, once a problem was made public, they rushed to correct it.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. G-Man I guess you had this one nailed right up front! Hey Nemo, are you going to be critical of the commishes for not continuing the slave thing?

    This is fun to watch when it appears the Commishes actually did something positive and didn’t try to fight a losing cause. Perhaps there is hope?

  2. Clippityclop
    Oct 2, 2007, 4:54 pm

    The Commissioners deserve praise for acting so quickly and decisively, instead of waiting for an opinion from the County Attorney in hopes it would somehow justify this practice.

    If only the Commissioners would show this sort of resolve in other obviously flawed matters that come before them. Fellows, it’s time to turn over a new leaf if you have any hope of restoring the public trust before the next election.

  3. Boise Guardian the local agent for change! Way to make things happen! You have my loyal readership forever!

  4. BULL@#%. The commissioners don’t deserve jack.

    It’s their job to make sure this doesn’t happen in the first place. It doesn’t say much when the Ada county culture leads administrators to believe something like this is A-OK.

    I understand there’s a lot of sympathy for forcing miscreants to some good ol’ fashioned hard work. But don’t expect me to be thrilled if my competitor gets access to free labor.

    What a deal. No worker’s comp premiums, no benefit issues, no HR hassles and NO PAYROLL.

  5. Grumpy old Guy
    Oct 3, 2007, 1:46 am

    Good job Guardian and Guardian Readers. Now, if we can just manage to hold a few more feet to a few more fires, maybe the People’s Workers (i.e. Elected Officials) will become true representative government officials. Nice job Dave.

    Grumpy, but smiling.

  6. Great job, Dave. The Commissioners don’t respond to individuals, so it’s nice to have a forum like this.

    EDITOR NOTE–In this case the county attorney wouldn’t respond to the juvenile department or the GUARDIAN. Commishes did a good job on this one.

  7. G-Man,you are amazing. Pretty soon the politico machine in Boise, are going to resemble Pavlov’s dog every time you show up with a big platter of crow meat. Give it up to the G-Man. Let freedom ring.

  8. Tilmagguire
    Oct 3, 2007, 10:45 am

    I wonder which juvenile services’ employee has a friend or relative who owns the pet wash.
    Did I miss this story in the paper?

  9. Sorry Mr. G, this is not news.

    The commissioners, the mayor, who ever, always respond quickly when they hear the press or the police coming, especially if it entails blaming a subordinate.

    Let me know when they personally do something of merit, like telling us the real deal on the courthouse financing scheme, allowing people to vote on a bond issue, codify a comp plan, or deny a developer’s application to pave the foothills.

  10. Mike Murphy, Bull Moose Tenor
    Oct 3, 2007, 12:19 pm

    Well Done!

  11. OK, I have to agree with all of them.
    Good job, Guardian.
    Good reaction, Commishes.
    AND, howcum elected, appointed, whatever officials just keep on screwing up until somebody “outside” catches them at it? Doesn’t anybody in city councils county boards, legislatures, Congress, whatever, know *anything* about their jobs, the laws, and what’s right or wrong?

    And, of course, the Idaho Spaceman doesn’t seem to notice such things at all until The Guardian or a TV station or somesuch raises enough cain to wake them up.

    Keep it up, Guardian, we need you!!!

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