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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Local Paper Would Not Print ACLU Article Comment

The following GUARDIAN comment was rejected by the local paper REGARDING the ACLU article in today's paper. We are offering it as submitted for your review and comments.

Please note for clarification: There is an A budget and a B budget for the Sheriff's Department. The A budget is wages and fringes, the B budget is for maintenance and repair items in his department.

Vickie Holbrook from the local paper writes:


I’m told the commissioner oversee the maintenance budget. You need to provide proof that chris put the money into salaries. I’m OK with the rest. You’ll have to resubmit" (we did not resubmit and stand by what was originally submitted to the local paper as originally submitted)

Here is the comment as submitted to the local paper:

"The ACLU bill is the result of the Sheriff not maintaining the jail. He took his maintenance budget and gave all his people substantial pay raises and created a number of new administrative positions. The situation was further exacerbated by the lack of cooperation between the prosecutor, Dave Young and the courts to recognize the need to impose alternative sentencing, work release, community service and cite and release for low level misdemeanors. It all added up to a seriously overcrowded and poorly maintained jail.

Sheriff Smith was looking for the ACLU to tell them they needed a new jail. It didn't happen, the lawsuit told them to clean up what they had and get the numbers down where they belonged in the first place. The ACLU forced the Sheriff, Prosecutor and the Judges to figure out who really needs to be in jail and to use alternative
sentencing for all others. Now they want their legal costs and we taxpayers will have to pay for the gross mismanagment of our jail to the ACLU."

THE GUARDIAN learned today the actual amount of the billing from the ACLU is for $193,000.00! Commissioners will try to negotiate a lower settlement from the ACLU.

The Commissioner's oversee the Maintenance Department Budget for all the ancillary operations of the courthouse functions. They do not oversee the Jail Maintenance Budget, it is the responsiblity of the Sheriff.


  1. Paul you worked in the jail for some time and you know from first hand experience who does the cleaning of the jail. It is the jail staff supervising jail trustees that take care of 95% of all the jail cleaning and maintenance. This includes repainting of the jail and much of the minor repair upkeep. You are right on the B budget being for jail maintenance and supplies.
    You are also right that Sheriff Smith took money two years in a row from the jail B budget and transferred the funds to his A budget for salaries. I was told by one of the Lt.s in the jail that Smith had cut the jail budget so much there would be no money left to keep the jail in good operating condition. This was long before the law suit by the ACLU.

    The county does have a crew for doing some maintenace on construction repairs some of which are in the jail. They fix door locks ETC. but they have nothing to do with the cleaning and painting etc. in the jail.

    They could not have given 10,000 and 11,000. dollar raises to people with out cutting money from some place.

  2. It should not come as a surprise that Vickie censures the news and only prints what she agrees with and wants people to know. The press tribune is nothing more than a poor excuse for a tabloid. I keep thinking and hoping they will eventually go broke. If they did it would encourage some one to give as a real news paper that prints all of the news not just what Vickie agrees with. Until then I will refuse to buy the IPT and get my news from other sources. You should do the same.

    The IPT has been a lap dog for Smith and the commissioners for the last five years and has covered up for them at every turn. Get use to it because it is not going to end any time soon.

  3. I don't see anything wrong for a newspaper to require you to provide some evidence supporting what you are claiming. Those are some pretty damning allegations if you can prove them. Some might even say if the IPT had put that in the paper without verifying it first, they might be held civilly liable for slander if proven false. I don't think it should be too hard to prove your case Paul if you can get the documents to prove your claim. I do believe the Clerks office should have very detailed records of the Sheriff's Office expenditures and how the money has been spent. Until then I will reserve my judgment and treat them as what they are. Unsubstantiated allegations. As for daily maintenance in the jail such as cleaning you are absolutely correct, it is done by inmates. However you are way off base when it comes to funding for major repairs etc. when it comes to the buildings. All county buildings are maintained by the Building Maintenance Department which is under the direct control of the commissioners. All monies for major repairs etc, is in their budget not the Sheriff's budget. It's the same deal when you look at the county shop. All the cars may say Sheriff on them but the fleet is managed by the county shop under the commissioners. Finally ,I think you of all people know you can't rob from one budget to feed another. If that had happened I am sure our illustrious County Clerk, William Hurst would have noticed and would not cover anything up and would speak out, don't you? Now as far as those $10 an hour raises go......
    I know of only one person who received a huge bump in pay like you guys are saying. I'll tell you why too. She is a female Sergeant who was being paid $10 hour less than her male counterparts. When Smith took office he remedied that problem when he found out about it. The funny thing is, this happened years ago but here we are withthat same rumor floating around again. The jail has not been cut any more than any other section of the Sheriff's Office. All sections had to make drastic cuts and everyone is feeling the pinch.

  4. Vickie Holbrook believes every lie she is told by the court house cronies. Of course they are going to say that Smith is not responsible and that it is the county maintenance department that takes care of all the cleaning and repairs.

    A real news paper would have then asked why the commissioners allowed the county maintenance department let the jail get in such a bad state of affairs it got the county sued. But no Paul, you have to prove everything not the people responsible who were elected to keep the county out of stupid law suits like this one.

    A real news paper would have asked the Commissioners why they didn't know the jail was in such a bad condition since they are required by Idaho law to inspect the jail every six months. Why were they not aware that the jail wasn't being kept clean. After all the maintenance department is under them. If that is who they claim is responsible for keeping the jail clean and in repair.

    If Chris Smith didn't take the money from the B budget and transfer it to his A budget as we know he did. Then it all falls on the commissioners. It was their responsibility to see to it money was budgeted in their maintenance department to take care of the jail.

    Paul I don't see where it would be your responsibility to prove anything.You were not elected to be responsible for the county jail. The news paper needs to get the Velcro off of it's ass and ask some real tough journalism questions instead of passing this back to you.

    The hard truth is the Idaho Press Tribune stopped asking tough questions years ago. They are no longer journalist. They are absolutely worthless as a news paper.

  5. The ran down condition of our jail did not happen as a suprise. It was something that occurred over a period of time from poor management and neglect. Smith and the county commissioners are both responsible for allowing it to get such bad condition we got sued.

    It is simplely this, If they have it cleanned up now then they could have kept it clean all along and not got us sued.

    Was not keeping the jail clean a deliberate attempt to get sued and thus force a new jail to be built. A damn good question.

    This is a lot like Smith closing down the old remodeled jail just prior the the 72 million dollar bond election because the ventilation system all at once quit working. Only to find out later all that was wrong with the ventilation system was prisoners had plugged up the air vents with toliet paper. This cost canyon county tax payers three hundred thousand dollars to hold prisoners in Ada county for a year before they discovered the plugged up air vents. Never reported on by the Idaho Press Tribune.

    Or is this the case:
    They were so arrogant they were going to build this jail with out voter approval and cram it down our throats they didn't care about the present jail.(They were so sure they built 40 thousand dollars worth of new steel tables for their new jail all of which got stolen.) Could it be they were just so sure they would get a new jail they let our jail go to hell to the point we ended up getting sued.

    Call arrogants, stupidity, mismanagement or what you like it all falls at the feet of Chris Smith and The county commissioners.

    It makes one wonder where the press has been through all of this.

  6. I agree with the last comment. If they have fixed the problem now to end the law suit then they could have kept the jail clean and in repair and avoided the law suit. This speaks volumes about our elected officials incompetence and the ho hum attude of our so called news paper.
    I also agree that some one needs to hold our county officials feet to the fire and ask some real tough questions about all of the spending they were doing buying up property, engineering studys,and building projects while letting the jail go to hell. I think the last comment was right the elected officials were so sure they were going to build their jail with out voter approval they didn't care about our present jail. Our elected officials have been arrogant towards the tax payers. They are only having this bond election because they ran out of tax money to cram it down our throats without an election.
    I also agree that it is not the citizens and common tax payer that needs to do the proving. The people we elect to office are the ones who need to do the proving and explaining. The news paper needs to get their head out of their (you what)and start acting like a news paper that is intrested in giving it's readers all of the news and stop paraphrasing the people they are supposed to be holding accountable.

  7. I bet the news paper never asked Smith if he asked the commissioners to reduce the B budget for the jail and put it in the A budget at the time they were setting the budgets.
    It was common knowledge around the court house that Smith had done this.It was one of the excuses Smith used to justify his salary increases to others in the court house that didn't get much for raises. There are plenty of people in the court house that know about the shuffling going on with the sheriff's budget. When did it become a citizens responsibility to do the leg work for the news paper. What ever happened to investigative reporting.

  8. You can't move money between budgets without commissioners being involved/approval. You can't even spend more than a $1,000 without them being involved. If any hanky panky had been going on Hurst would have caught it and been all over it. Why don't you ask Hurst? He is they Clerk isn't he? Shouldn't he be speaking up about all these alleged unlawful activities? What are we paying him for? Or maybe there isn't anything for him to complain about?

  9. Hurst is not responsible for setting the budgets. the commissioners are. When Smith went in to present his budget he had reduced his B budget in the jail and placed the same amount in his A budget. The commissioners approved this move of funds from his B to A budget. Hurst had nothing to do with it. There is nothing unlawful about doing this it is just stupid to take money needed to keep the jail up and give people raises with it.

    Once the county budgets have been adopted then it requires a court order to transfer funds from one budget to another. Doing the time budgets are being presented elected officials can present any changes they want to. Wise up.

  10. When Smith came in to present his budget for the coming year he requested less for his B budget in the jail than had been requested the year before and increased his A budget by the same amount that had been decreased in the B budget. This is not illegal or unlawful. It just shows that his priorities were salaries and not keeping the jail up.It takes money to keep the jail clean and in repair. The commissioners were aware of what Smith was doing and approved his budgets as presented. They are both responsible for the short fall in the funding to keep the jail clean.
    Bill Hurst has nothing to do with any of it. He has no authority to tell the commissioners or the sheriff how to set county budgets. Anyone familiar with county budgets would know this. Obviously you don't know what you are talking about.

  11. Editor note:
    Due to excessive length this comment was moderated to what is stated below.

    Come on fellas calm down. I didn't say Hurst set the budgets. I didn't accuse Hurst of anything. If you had read my post without reading into it and had not jumped to conclusions and made assumptions you would have gathered the following talking points:
    1) You can't move money between budgets without commissioner approval.
    2) If any hanky panky was going on Hurst would have caught it.
    3) If you think something is going on behind the scenes ask Hurst because he is in the position to blow the whistle. I merely pointed out if there was anything illegal going on, he would have said something otherwise what are we paying him for

    Our opinion is we believe the money requested for Sheriff's office employee pay increases is not appropriate, should not have been approved , and those monies should have been diverted to the building maintenance budget and used for building maintenance issues for the jail instead. We believe the Sheriff should not ask for pay raises for his employees when the economy is bad." Is that what you are trying to say?

  12. Are you really this stupid or are you just trying to act stupid?
    At the time county budgets are set an elected official can lawfully make any changes in his budget request he or she wants. If Smith wants to reduce his B budget in the jail and increase his A budget by the same amount there is nothing illegal about doing so. It is not hanky panky it is a management decision. If the commissioners agree with the change they have a legal right to approve the budget as requested. In the light of this and the fact the jail was not kept clean and we got sued it appears this was a very stupid management decision.
    No doubt It was popular with the employees who got the raises. However,it was a very stupid thing to do because the law suit cost county taxpayers a lot of money that could have been used for something taxpayers would have benefited from.

  13. When the Sheriff lets his Undersheriff "appoint" his buddies to run the jail who are ignorant to the running thereof, you get lamebrained plans like: "I don't care, let 'em sue us" (ACLU). "That way a Federal Judge will cap us and we will HAVE to get a new jail". That's the mentality of the Lt. and Capt. running that jail now. Not too bright!


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