• Erin B.

Call to Action: Optional Forms of Government Public Hearing 1/19



Last night’s Optional Forms of Government study commission meeting was the shortest meeting that just coordinated final details over next week’s public hearing and a little bit of a heated “discussion” by Dave Botting towards Bruce Mattare about his comments regarding the commission when he spoke at last week’s Kootenai County Republican Women’s Federated luncheon.

Let’s not let those heated words overshadow the big news that next week is the public hearing where the study commission HAS to sit and listen to everyone’s comments about this commission’s recommendation.


Here’s where we need your help. Next Wednesday, Jan. 19th is the ONLY time your comments will be heard by the study commission. We need so many to be there that the room, hallway and parking lot fills up and the commission has to stay long past a comfortable time for a meeting. We need to hear your voices! I have personally heard your concerns about this commission and now is your chance to let them know too. We need ALL HANDS ON DECK.




Here’s what the study commission is recommending:

5 county commissioners + a commission manager


No mention on how they expect this to be paid for and no explanation as to why they think there needs to be a change in government when even their own analysis put the current form as the superior form (based on strengths/weaknesses).


Just a quick reminder: the only person interviewed who was adamant about Kootenai County needing a new form of government was the chair of the KC Democratic Party, who wanted bigger government and the opportunity to discuss business behind closed doors without the public.


Below is the table of strengths and weaknesses that they came up with for the current form of government and the one that majority “agreed” to recommend (by a 5-4 vote). I have included ALL strengths and weaknesses; the last few weeks have been discussing whether they are really facts, opinions, everything else.

CURRENT FORM

3 Commissioners

RECOMMENDED

5 Commissioners with Manager

Strengths

  • Familiar

  • BOCC can already hire a manager

  • Prevents micromanagement of elected

  • BOCC stays busy, less time for overreach

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

  • Full-time commissioners

  • BOCC has efficient decision-making process

  • Quicker responses in emergencies

  • Provides adequate checks and balances

  • Continuity of experience within BOCC

  • Easier access to BOCC for citizen’s issues

  • Prevents micromanagement of elected

  • Accountability to voters

  • Open meeting laws make BOCC more transparent

  • 100% representation

  • Power is diffused

  • BOCC has options to increase efficiency

  • BOCC sets goals and policies on a countywide basis

  • 3 is cheaper than 5 full time

  • ​Manager offloads BOCC

  • Allows subcommittees

  • Allows improved growth management

  • Manager brings professional expertise

  • Budget development more coordinated, less partisan

  • Manager breaks down silos and improves coordination

  • 5 BOCC expands candidate pool

  • Expands BOCC perspectives

  • Manager promotes less partisanship among BOCC

  • Slackers have less of an impact on BOCC duties

  • More time for planning and policy

  • Improved continuity across elections

  • More public access to BOCC

  • More time for community outreach

  • Business continuity planning w/Manager

  • Business principles w/Manager

  • Manager can respond more quickly to emergency planning

  • 5 BOCC increases representation

  • Strategic planning will be part of the job

  • Potential cost savings (IF 5 BOCC goes to part time)

  • Better implementation of policies

Weaknesses

  • No collaboration outside of public meetings

  • Lack of distinction between admin/legislative function.

  • Direction of BOCC can change every election

  • Administrative duties are burdensome and impairs strategic planning

  • Lack of professional trained management

  • Larger impact if 1 or more commissioners aren’t doing their job

  • Limited # of viewpoints

  • Less time for 3 to interact with community

  • Can promote politicization of administrative decisions

  • Can attract people who only in it for salary & benefits​

  • County manager in charge of budget compilation

  • Takes budget away from Clerk’s office

  • Have to hire-and pay for-qualified county manager

  • No guarantee of continuity with county manager

  • Hiring/firing power over county employees

  • Oversight and appointment of advisory boards

  • Not accountable to voters

  • Have to redraw the districts for 5 commissioners

  • Have to wait 4 years for any change in the manager

  • Citizens must convince 3 commissioners for a majority instead of 2

  • If it ain't broke, don’t fix it

  • Potential conflict of interest implications with the budget

  • Manager can bias BOCC

  • BOCC is less involved

  • # of BOCC increases conflict

  • Manager could become filter between BOCC and departments

  • Increases bureaucracy, decreases decisiveness

  • Open meeting law concerns (back room talk)

  • Potentially increases cost if the commissioners don’t go from full time to part time

  • Unintended consequences in infrastructure costs


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