ACHD Says “Amen” To Prayers

After a flood of protests from staffers and citizens about establishing a policy of prayer at the beginning of Ada County Highway District meetings, it looks like it will be a final “Amen,” before the first head was bowed or the first eye closed.

A moment of silence will suffice.

Director Bruce Wong sent out an internal memo Tuesday, just a week after the board approved an invocation policy by a 3-2 vote.

Here is his memo:

“Team – I know that many of you are still very concerned about our recent policy on starting each Commission session with a prayer and have shared that with me over the weekend.

Please let me reiterate that NO team member will ever be required to participate in any invocation from any denomination or group that will be conducting this for the Commission. This new policy is strictly voluntary. NO team member will be assessed, logged in, tracked, pressured, nor critiqued on their decision to attend or not to attend any Commission invocation. That has never been the Commission’s intent.

That being said, the Commission has informed me that we will be moving forward with only a moment of silence after the Pledge of Allegiance. I do hope this removes any concerns you have and I want to thank you all for sharing your thoughts and for the outstanding job you all do.

Thank you all and thank you for all that you do for ACHD, our 436,000 customers, and for Idaho.”

It looks like the board was faced with massive opprobrium. For you non-library types that’s “harsh criticism or censure.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. kaatherine frazier
    Mar 2, 2015, 6:17 pm

    I guess the protesters of prayer (contra-prayer) are concerned with associating with those in favor of prayer. Now, if one does not believe in or feel concerned about the reality of a Creator, why feel threatened? Just let the rest of us commit the evening to our Overseer. You can even chat during the prayer, which is heard anyway.
    Katherine Frazier Boise

  2. Justin Beller
    Mar 2, 2015, 6:21 pm

    I don’t care if they handle snakes, chant, sacrifice a chicken, and then sing a rousing rendition of God Bless America before (or after) every meeting. As long as they do their job that’s all I care about.

  3. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 2, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Customers! The ACHD sees us as customers; no wonder there is such a disconnect. I see them as the staff hired by our elected representatives to serve the citizenry. I see the ACHD as a service organization responsible to and answering to the voters who elect the Commissioners. Now wonder Public Service employees take such a jaundiced view of complaints, suggestions and alternate views if the people who pay their salaries are considered to be their customers.

    EDITOR NOTE–Grumpy, are you saying the “team members” actually see themselves as “associates,” as in WalMart?

  4. CJ Petrovsky
    Mar 3, 2015, 9:43 am

    Excellent result…and kudos to the Board for reconsidering an ill-advised initial decision.

  5. Foothills Rider
    Mar 3, 2015, 10:29 am

    Ms. Frazier,
    What is your feeling on related issue in article of Statesman today:
    “Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, says he’ll walk out if a Hindu prayer opens the Idaho Senate on Tuesday morning.
    “They have a caste system,” Vick said. “They worship cows.””

    To those so inclined, those personal Hindu beliefs (or any other) are stronger and those doctrines and specific Overseers more pertinent than your Christian beliefs/Overseer. It is not a ‘majority rules’ when it comes to religious freedoms.

    What seems to be happening is that forced Christian-leaning is purposefully the goal even when these prayer-promoters tout religious freedom. Non-Christians who might be offended are called out specifically when told they can choose to simply not participate. That is not OK.
    A moment of non-denominational (or non-theist) silence is a bigger gesture to all our freedoms than a forced Christian-leaning tribute. Many Christians agree.

    EDITOR NOTE–Rider, I think you got right. Religion has no place in government. Today the Dems walked out of Congress on the Jewish state (Isreal) prime minister, a professed Christian walked out of the Idaho Senate on a Hindu, and a prayer policy offered by a Mormon took so much heat at ACHD it will be rescinded. Without these folks we would have little to blog about!

  6. Mitchell A. Jaurena
    Mar 3, 2015, 10:31 am

    Grumpy, you are thin slicing definitions. ACHD employees work hard to take care of Ada County residents. Your fight is with the elected official who cooked up the hair-brained idea and the other two Commissioners who quid pro quo supported him to get his vote. If you don’t think the sensor vote is connected you are not paying attention.

  7. P. Hautzinger
    Mar 3, 2015, 2:43 pm

    Please. Pray at home or in your church and leave government meetings to their jobs.

    Praying and religion are about faith and belief and is a personal issue. Keep it private and to yourselves.

  8. Mr. Jaurena, what do you mean by “the sensor vote is connected”? And go along “to get his vote”- is there a particular upcoming vote those 2 want Goldthorpe to go their way? What you are saying doesn’t make sense unless you release the details.

    I don’t think the issue of ‘customers’ is based on what any of the commissioners are saying- it is based on what the Director is saying. It goes to a lot about this management philosophy. “Customers” may be a good use, but 436,000 is a bad reference. Regardless it’s a BAD memo/bad all the way around.

  9. Mitchell A. Jaurena
    Mar 3, 2015, 5:52 pm

    See item 3 on regular agenda and who voted for and against it.

    Like I said you need to pay attention. Casually reviewing and solely getting your news from the Statesman and Guardian without delving deeper into the issues and votes isn’t something “I” need to reveal. It is something you should research and know on your own. Low information voters…..the bain of a republic.

  10. Oooh,, I get it.
    Never mind Mr. Jaurena. So the parking meter sensors?

    “Hey you vote for my prayer time, and I’ll vote against the city on the meters.”
    Which leads back to C. Baker’s previous comment about “a preordained deal”, is that what the two of you are saying?
    Well, really that’s how politics works, so what?

  11. Mitch, your election signs are still littering many neighborhoods. Get out and walk the ditches… there are dozens of them. Should get a litter ticket.

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