By Staff Reporter
Poor leadership. Manipulative gameplaying. Lack of transparency. These are just a few descriptors that could be used to describe Bonner County Commissioners (BOCC) Steve Bradshaw and Luke Omodt, according to Redoubt News editor Shari Dovale.
One of the issues highlighted by Dovale is the BOCC wanting to take land allocated for use by the Bonner County Sheriff and give it to Bonner County Fair Board. Their intended purpose? Build a year-round RV park. (Read the full story – “Here We Go Again” – at Redoubt News)
“The last Board of Commissioners tried to slide this through,” Dovale told True Idaho News. “They put transferring the land onto their agenda using very cryptic language. Nobody knew what was going on.” But action by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office put a stop to it.
According to Dovale, a four-acre parcel exists in the middle of the sheriff’s department complex that was set aside by a past Board for a justice center. But the last Board wanted to create an RV park on the land. The sheriff fought it, because the BOCC was making all their decisions in executive session. Eventually, the sheriff contacted the office of Idaho’s Attorney General, and the AG found that the BOCC was, in fact, violating open meeting laws – thus voiding any decisions made in those sessions.
The matter was considered closed, but the new BOCC has resurrected the idea. Just as last time, the BOCC is using cryptic language for the agenda. They say the issue being discussed is moving the fairground’s boundary lines.
What’s more, Dovale reports the BOCC is saying they have already hired someone to do the paperwork, they just need to get the matter approved.
Even more suspicious, the BOCC called for a meeting to discuss the matter with only 24 hours lead time, and they posted to meet at a time when the county’s third commissioner, Asia Williams, was scheduled to be out of the office.*
Several questions need to be considered:
- What is the true purpose for Commissioners Bradshaw and Omodt wanting to take land set aside for a justice center and build an RV park in its place?
- Why does Commissioner Bradshaw, who is also pastor of Cocolalla Cowboy Church, insist on doing as much County Commissioner work as possible behind closed doors in executive session? One would think a pastor should be seeking truth and transparency.
- Why is Commissioner Bradshaw quick to shut down public input at BOCC meetings when people give comments not in alignment with Commissioner Bradshaw’s perspective?
Dovale said, “Nobody knows what they’re trying to do in the long term. [Bradshaw] says the last Board used executive session all the time, and he’s not about to change that. He insists it stays that way.”
According to Dovale, Commissioner Williams has pushed back on that idea, saying, “It was wrong then, and that’s why people changed the Board. They didn’t like that. They want transparency.”
Dovale says Bradshaw continues to make negative comments, such as they “are not required by law to allow comment or discussion,” and “Don’t force my hand.”
The Tuesday, March 7 meeting of the BOCC will be aired live at 9:00 am Pacific time / 10:00 am Mountain time and can be viewed at the BonnerCountyID.gov website.
*In the spirit of full disclosure, Asia Williams is an occasional guest co-host on the True Idaho News podcast. She was not interviewed for this article and gave no input to this content.