City Government

Of Ethics, Conflicts, Right and Wrong

We are left shaking our head almost daily asking the rhetorical questions, “What were they thinking?” and “doesn’t anyone know the difference between right and wrong?” Mom and Dad would be aghast.

The recent mess incident at the City-owned Idaho Ice World was a disaster waiting to happen. It all started back in 2008 when Team Dave’s Ethics Commission was asked for an advisory opinion. The question was whether or not it would be a conflict of interest for the City Hockey Director ($44,000 salary in public money) to also serve as a coach for his son’s Peewee league team. The panel ruled it would be OK as long as he wasn’t paid to be a coach.

We don’t understand their logic, but it is obviously a conflict for a parent to be the coach and also the guy who is the top dog when it comes to EVERYTHING involving the hockey program. He didn’t make any money from his “off duty” volunteer job, but it’s still a conflict.

That same ethics panel told Boise’s treasurer it was OK to put the arm on banks and others with whom he routinely deposits public funds, to help finance a convention of city treasurers. They said as long as he was soliciting funds for the group and not in his position as city treasurer it was OK. Give me a break! Nothing illegal or dishonest, but still a stinky act of panhandling and an obvious conflict.

Same is true for the State Senator who holds gas and oil leases and votes on laws that will regulate (or not) oil exploration and production in Idaho and on his land. Legislators ruled it was no conflict because he didn’t receive a personal gain (money) from his votes. HOGWASH! It’s a conflict, plain and simple. May not be criminal, may not even be dishonest, but it IS a conflict.

We can go on about the Nampa mayor using tax money to buy lunch for city employees so they can hear his “state of the city” speech. Or the mayor of Caldwell getting a family membership at the YMCA on the backs of taxpayers. Conflicts and total disregard for ethical behavior and understanding right from wrong.

When these events and practices reach critical mass, there is always an ethics panel, attorney general opinion, or others who defend the conflict. We readily admit some things are certainly “gray,” but Mom and Dad always said if you have to think twice about whether or not you should do something, it is probably wrong. We would add if you have to spend a lot of time justifying the action, it probably wasn’t the right thing either.

We all make mistakes, but these days they all seem to be justified, rationalized, and defended. If the city or a politico screws up, best to admit it, take steps to prevent a recurrence and more on. Mom and Dad would be proud.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Boise is wack
    Mar 25, 2012, 8:28 pm

    The HD at IIW doesn’t have anything to do with scheduling ice time or the officals. Once again, poor reporting of facts.

    EDITOR NOTE–Please tell us SOMETHING the hockey director actually does.

  2. The best yard stick is… would you want to see your mug shot on the front page of the paper or the feature item on the nightly news.

    I wonder what our Agnostic Catholic Gov. will do with the much debated and time wasting sonogram bill? I am so relieved our legislature works on things like this when we have some really important things like the ECONOMY, Urban Renewal Reform, Land Board abuses involving private business ownersip and any number of other things they could have been working on this term.

    I wish the government would stay out of people’s personal lives and women’s right to protect their own health.

    Thank God we didn’t have to suffer through any gay marriage issues this time around.

  3. Hockey 4 Life
    Mar 25, 2012, 9:44 pm

    Ok so wait a minute. First there are complaints about not having USA certified hockey coaches in the house leagues and then there are complaints about the HD who is USA hockey certified volunteering to coach. The HD is not in charge of the refs. The HD does not control who refs, or how many times someone can ref. The HD does not determine how much ice time a kid gets other than on thier respective team that they are coaching. You are stretching on this one. Perhas he would not of had to coach a house team if other parents would step up to the plate by getting their USA hockey certification and help coach the house leagues. They are always looking for volunteer coaches. If no one steps up, should the teams just go with out coaching?

    EDITOR NOTE–Based on your comments there isn’t really much a hockey director actually does, so there is no conflict. We were wrong to mention it. Can you please share a couple of things the position is supposed to do? Sounds like a bunch of disinterested parents and a hockey director without duties.

  4. Hockey 4 Life
    Mar 25, 2012, 11:10 pm

    @Editors note…The HD’s job regardless of who holds the position at any given time is to run the Hockey program, build an interest in the sport, provide instruction in the sport of hockey (various youth hockey clinics), make sure the program stays within budget, organize the adult and youth leagues, make sure there are coaches for the teams,and much more that you could probably find out on your own. Oh and deal with some parents that will always find something to be upset about. The refs are part of their own union. A different employee is in charge of getting refs scheduled for games. The Ref’s have USA Hockey Ref supervisors that work them on reffing issues.
    It is not a bunch of disinterested parents, it is a few who will always find something to complain about.

  5. This man is widely considered to be one our best presidents in the past several decades: Dave I share your frustration, but if Bill got away with it, why can’t we all? JFK did the same thing but she didn’t talk about it till last year.

    And that is what happens when we are all about laws and not about all that stuff that can’t be written down. Or is it that you are just now noticing all of this typical human behavior?

  6. It is called leadership failure. It is common in great societies, often signaling when the apex has passed. The end justifies the means.

    Now let us bow and hope for forgiveness from all the rotten little dictator nation states that our great leaders pander too.

    This link is an example of the apple core we are dealing with:

  7. boisetaxpayer
    Mar 26, 2012, 12:53 pm

    If you are concerned with what the HD does, Dave, maybe you should request a job description from the City since he is a public employee.

  8. Karen Ragland
    Mar 26, 2012, 1:51 pm

    But Dave and folks, you are forgetting that smokers can no longer smoke in bars when they talk over the sleasy politicians that they voted for.

  9. A real journalist
    Mar 27, 2012, 1:28 pm

    The Guardian is the worst piece of “journalism” I have ever seen. It is extremely one-sided and seems to only want to serve the purpose of making mountains out of mole hills and generating negative comments. Probably only 2% of the parents at IIW were unhappy with the hockey directors performance, and they are the ones that went after someone’s job, taking food off the table of a family. Nice going. Since he took over in 2008, the majority of parents have been pleased with his knowledge, experience, love of hockey and the dignity in which he treated those kids. What a shame that some of you are jumping on the band wagon that you didn’t even give a second thought to a few weeks ago. I hope more people will realize how you can’t put all the blame on one person and will come to the support of someone who ran the program better than it had been run in previous years.

    EDITOR NOTE–We will make the same offer to you that we made to others: You can have equal space to give your side of the issue. Comments are all over the board. A posting needs to have some documents (which we had from the parent). Don’t know where you got the 2% figure. We had only a single parent contact us directly. If the guy resigned over pressure from a single parent or the city forced the resignation over the single complaint it must have been a whopper. If we are one sided it’s because the city offers no comment and your 98% have declined our offer for equal space.

  10. A real journalist
    Mar 27, 2012, 2:16 pm

    @Editor note: I said “probably” 2% and the 98% “probably” read real news, which is where I’m going now. Goodbye Guardian!

  11. Wow. It takes a lotta chutzpah for someone describing themselves as “a real journalist” to complain about the Guardian.

    Does this “real journalist” still work in “journalism” because if they do no wonder they don’t give their real names – the state of “journalism” in Boise/Idaho/USA stinks.

    We learn more about what’s going on in Boise from the Guardian than from any “news” outlet. The Statesman is a joke. Oftentimes the stories appear here first. Other times the Statesman just vomits what their betters in government tell them. And if the local television “news” didn’t have “doppler radar” they’d be bereft of any content to fill their 30 minutes of dreck.

    Oh one more thing. Was the “news” that this guy resigned/got fired in the paper? Seems to me this would be something worthy of a story. Maybe “a real journalist” could do that.

  12. Not Taking Sides
    Mar 27, 2012, 4:42 pm

    @editor – can you tell us what document the parent provided to you? Just curious. Do you have any idea why the other news organizations have not picked up on this story?

    EDITOR NOTE–Most telling were e-mails between Andresen and the city, the locker room rules of USA Hockey which the city claims are observed with regard to supervision.

  13. These concerned Hockeyites should read the “About” page here at the Boise Guardian before commenting about the lack of journalism. Just a different slant on the news than they are used too.

  14. @ A real journalist: Much to the horror of the establishment. The liberal excursion which the media has been on for several decades must end, because they are no longer the controllers of the printing press. Little outlets like Boise Guardian will put pressure on the establishment rags to have less agenda in their reporting.

    I’ve always for it humorous when the professionals changed their title from reporter to journalist. Journalist implies creative writing whereas reporting is just the facts.

  15. @Zippo,nan emouse:

    Clarification: Some writing professionals are “journalists,” because they have four-year college degrees in journalism (accountants have accounting degrees, doctors have medical degrees, lawyers have law degrees). That means they have received well-rounded educations in all aspects of the media, i.e. news-editorial (newspaper reporting), broadcasting, public relations, photojournalism, advertising, mass media law, etc., as well as healthy doses of liberal arts, such as English, literature, creative writing, business and so on. I agree that BG does a better job of fleshing out important stories than some Legacy media outlets these days.

    KTA (Kappa Tau Alpha-School of Journalism honor society.)

  16. (I put the commas in the wrong places just to bug my english teachers.)

    Have you noticed how the Bill Gates’ of the world got fed up with school in the first few months. Point is, I’d like a little less professional and bit more fact in the local news. Best guy around here does the weather on channel 7. If only he would teach the others how. Popkee is good but his frame is bent to the left.

  17. Riiiigggghhhhht Kappa. You can spin it all day long, but the fact remains that the “journalism” industry stinks. Maybe we need more reporters cuz the “well rounded” “journalists” are more like my middle schooler when he does his journal for class.

    Too much feelings, too much opinion, not enough dispassionate facts. But keep telling yourself how important and “educated” you “journalists” are.

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