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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

UPDATE: Optional Forms of Government - LONG

In an exciting turn of events, the study commission voted 5 to 4 to rescind the 5 commissioner/1 commission manager recommendation and recommend NO CHANGE to our current form of government.

For the cliff notes version, check out my video update from midnight last night.

There was a bit of drama before the evening began; last Friday the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday as planned (the room was booked on Wednesday so they changed it to Tuesday). By Monday afternoon a look on the county website showed that the meeting was CANCELLED. There was no explanation, no notice, nothing. A Telegram Spectator member called the county office and Nanci Plouffe told her that the meeting was cancelled because 2 members couldn’t make the meeting.

Two hours later the meeting was uncancelled and back on the calendar with the agenda to download. There seems to have been drama behind the scenes as when I posted a 9am video update yesterday morning I got accosted by Dave Botting’s girlfriend, Deborah Rose, who let slip there were attorneys involved with the decision to move forward with the meeting.

I don’t know what the behind-the-scenes issues were but every seat was filled by 7pm last night and the crowd was ready to see the *hopefully* final Optional Forms of Government meeting.

Brian Cleary makes an announcement that he has information about Kristen Wing’s residency and proceeded to go through his process of contacting South Dakota and looking at her new voter registration card – which she signed on March 2, 2022 – almost an entire month before the date that Dave Botting was trying to pass off as Wing’s last day in Kootenai County.

Either Kristen lied to the South Dakota Secretary of State and was NOT a resident of South Dakota when signing her new card, or Dave Botting lied to the study commission (and the people) trying to extend Kristen’s time on the commission to keep her vote official.

Cleary mentioned the Kristen Wing residency inaccuracies during the announcements portion of the agenda and put it on public record, but that transitioned nicely into the discussion about removing Botting as the study commission chair.

Joan Genter, Bryant Bushling, Tamara Bateson, and Brian Cleary all gave reasons as to why Dave Botting should be removed as chair; lack of transparency, community’s no confidence in him as the group leader, and his improper, bullying conduct was the main points of the argument.

Brian Cleary said it best when he mentioned that he still doesn’t know if the form of government needs to be changed, but the process by which this study commission rushed through everything, led by Chair Dave Botting, was the wrong way.

The motion to remove Dave Botting as chair failed 5-4; Brian Cleary, Tamara Bateson, Joan Genter, Kurt Anderson, and Bryant Bushling voted to remove, while Mumbles (Phil Ward), Dave Levine, Bob Fish, and Dave Botting voted to keep. The bylaws state that they need 2/3 vote to remove chair so 6 of 9 were needed to remove. Motion failed by 1 vote.

The next agenda item went straight into rescinding the recommendation of 5 commissioners and 1 commission manager. There was next to no discussion; the group just needed a majority vote to rescind and they got it 5-4: same 5-4 split as above.

In case the report was rescinded Kurt Anderson, with the help of Dave Levine, put together a new one-page report stating that they study commission does not recommend a change in government. Unbeknownst to them, Brian Cleary created his own report stating a similar finding. The commission worked together to combine both documents into one stating that the commission finds that no change is recommended. The new report, which was voted on by the commission and approved, was signed by at least 5 people as per the Idaho statute 31-5105.

Once the final report was approved, the last bit was creating a sub-committee to come back next week and approve the minutes from this meeting. The sub committee had to have 2-4 people so Brian Cleary and Bryant Bushling volunteered.

Once that last bit of housekeeping was settled, the commission voted to adjourn the meeting for the *hopefully* last time.

It’s a bit shocking that this meeting is complete, and we ended up on the “winning” side; so many people invested a lot of time and effort to attend these meetings that it’s hard to comprehend that they’re done. We have come across a lot of setbacks throughout the year, but this last-minute effort to change the final report and recommend NO CHANGE brings hope that the people can move the bar in the right direction.

But we cannot get complacent.

There is still a chance that the 5 commissioner/1 commission manager recommendation could be placed on the ballot. The commissioners still could throw out this final report and focus on the original report because “they feel the first report was the better report.” All they need is a majority vote for it to pass.

This is where we need to remind them of their own words.

Bill Brooks was interviewed on July 14, 2021, and his comments about the report were as follows:

I want to reiterate, make this very clear, whatever the Study Commission decides, I will support, I will work for it, I will vote for it.

~ Bill Brooks, July 14, 2021 Optional Forms of Government Meeting 1:44:27 - 1:44:36.

Chris Fillios, in the same meeting, stated:

You’re going to do the analysis and we abide by your decision.

~ Chris Fillios, July 14, 2021 Optional Forms of Government Meeting, 1:19:16 – 1:19:20

Whatever you come up with I will put on the ballot. Whether I go out and advocate for it, that’s another matter.

~ Chris Fillios, July 14, 2021 Optional Forms of Government Meeting, 1:44:53 – 1:45:00.

Commissioner Brooks and Fillios have made this statement many times throughout the year that this study commission has been active, and now it is time to ensure they stay true to their word.

There are many ways to accomplish that:

1. Watch the Kootenai County Commissioners meetings and be diligent about any agenda items that discuss the study commission, final report, or change in government.

a. That topic will most likely come up in the weekly business meetings on Tuesdays or at a special meeting discussing the study commission/final report/change in government.

2. Consistently send emails to the county commissioners reminding them of their comments to support the final report of the study commission. Their email is

3. Help candidate Bruce Mattare become elected over Chris Fillios in the May 17 Republican Primary.

We have been very strong with coming together with this Optional Forms of Government meeting; I hope we can put that energy into consistently watching the county commissioners and ensuring that no change in government is added to the November ballot, and many of the other meetings and projects that are waiting for us to take up. Be on the lookout for more information soon. 😊

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