Thursday, May 22, 2008
THE GUARDIAN is getting a lot of phone traffic on the Commishes and abuse of Executive Sessions. In order to get the definitive version of when Executive Sessions are authorized I went to the Idaho Attorney Generals website and looked over Idaho Code 67-2345.
The latest flurry of criticism on the County Deciders abusing executive sessions stems from two issues. First, it was deemed OK to keep all the stuff about Marc Young under wraps because it was a personnel matter. How then is it OK to talk on the record about Mr. Bill Hurst when he was a private employee of the county when he did the audit of the outgoing sheriff. Second issue, is on the front page of the IPT about ICRMP and the jail issues. The Comishes went into an Executive Session to discuss possible liability issues and a plan (decided to build a new jail with no voter authorization of inputs) to circumvent any issues ICRMP may have with the county lockup.
Idaho 67-2345(j) Executive Sessions-- When Authorized, reads as follows: "To engage in communications with a representative of the public agency's risk manager or insurance provider to discuss adjustment of a pending claim or prevention of a claim imminently likely to be filed. The mere presence of a representative of the public agency's risk manager or insurance provider at an executive session does not satisfy this requirement." (See editor note below)
The Commishes violated public meeting law 67-2345 both before the modification in 2007 and after that modification. How long are they going to get to spin this stuff with the press and the media. A verbal discussiion with someone does not constitute immenient legal action.
Why was an executive session required to discuss a plan of compliance (in the absence of a claim) in 2006 and now alright to openly discuss the executive session in the local paper today? Has anyone else fixated on this or even care about open and transparent government?
Our Commishes continue to get away with this behavior in Canyon County and the Ada County Commishes get cited virtually every time they cross the line on public meeting law violations? The Ada County Deciders are hauled up before the court of public opinion as well as the legal system and in front of the bright lights and cameras for all to see and review what went on. Canyon County remains silent and numb to these constant Executive sessions.
Short answer on all of this is the Election and the jail getting done with no voter input and Commishes in a defensive posture before this election.
Editor note 5-23-08: Section (j) of Idaho 67-245 was added July 1, 2007 via SB 1085. A thorough read of the provisions of 67-245 before the changes and after support that the commishes were in violation of the public meeting laws. 67-245(j) was added so that they could in fact have a discussion with their risk management provider subject to pending legal actions. It was added as clarification in 2007. The violation of personnel manual and privacy of Mr. Hurst by Mr. Ferdinand does remain troubling. Maybe a years paid leave of absence will make things right for Mr Hurst given the unrighteous outburst by Mr. Ferdinand in this weeks IPT guest opinion/letter.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 10:06 AM