Sunday, March 12, 2017

Less Transparency Is Doing Great In Elmore County Idaho

Last edited on March 12, 2017

I had a sit-down meeting with the Elmore County Commissioner on Feb. 10, 2017. The subject of the public discussion was transparency, county business and ways to ensure the people are informed and engaged. My position was that decision makers need to see how well the local government communicates before a business looks into getting a license or even before starting a company in Idaho.

No new companies because 

Two of the three commissioners were quite dead set against releasing any more data and information about the decisions they make and the business the county does or doesn't accomplish. In short, Commissioners Corbus and Wootan believe the county is doing a very good job of getting the word out to the citizens and business community. Commissioner Hofer was more willing to explore the idea using the county website as a way to keep Elmore County, Idaho residents informed.

Proof The County Is In The Dark
Not only are the residents in the dark about the decisions the county commissioners are making, news about individual departments and even the tax money the county is pushing out is getting obfuscated in their woefully inadequate official meeting minute notes. Those Elmore County meeting minutes are published to their website but there can be a big delay in getting them published.

Website update are required in 2017

At times over the years, I have noticed the county is six months behind in getting their meeting minutes published. During the Feb. 10, 2017 meeting, the most current meeting minutes on their website were from October 14, 2016. That's about 120 days or 4 months that the county was behind in keeping their resident's informed.

"Doing A Very Good Job" Doesn't Mean What They Think It Does
Doing a very good job is what the county officials said they were doing with publishing their meeting minutes? Even as I push the "publish" button on this post, the county again has a three-month backlog of meeting minutes to publish on their website. That's acceptable to the commissioners but to the residents of Elmore County, waiting three months to find out what's happening is too little, too late.

The brief Meeting Minutes
One of the November 2016 meeting minute documents I randomly opened to review brought up more questions than answers.

Amended Buxton Contract? Huh? 

1. Was this $350,000 your monthly or weekly expenses you just approved? Can you explain in general terms what that money was used for?
2. Elmore County, Idaho payroll is about $500,000 a month? And you find it difficult to communicate with the taxpayers who fund all those jobs?
3. You amended the $35,000 a year joint city-county Buxton Contract? That contract was meant to help attract new businesses to Idaho and Elmore County. What changed?

Originally published on March 12, 2017.


Tim Bondy Freelance
Writer & Citizen Journalist

I am currently a proud citizen journalist, aka "enemy of the American People!"


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