Group refutes Streamline claims - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Group refutes Streamline claims

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 12:00 am

An organization promoting the alternative form of county government on next week's ballot is making unrealistic promises, according to a group of elected officials and community activists.

A letter signed by the group, comprised of former Reagan Republican leaders, accuses Streamline Kootenai of spreading misinformation about what the ballot initiative would achieve.

"We are urging the voters to ignore the slick flyers and misleading advertising of Streamline Kootenai and vote to retain our present form of county government," states the letter, which was submitted to The Press late Thursday.

The letter is signed by Larry Spencer, Gary Ingram, Coeur d'Alene city councilmen Steve Adams and Dan Gookin, as well as Jack Schroeder, Mary Souza and Jim Brannon.

The ballot measure for alternative county government would add a county manager position to assume the county commissioners' administrative tasks. It would also make the county assessor, coroner, clerk and treasurer hired, instead of elected.

The conservative group's letter disputes statements in mail-outs from Streamline Kootenai, organized by Commissioner Dan Green to promote the ballot measure.

The mail-out states that $1 million a year would be saved under the restructuring. Green has said the savings would result from cutting the commissioners' pay, and from budget cuts by the new administrator.

But that number is "speculative," the letter states.

"The ballot would require hiring and funding a manager, while not decreasing the salaries of the commissioners," it reads.

The letter also accuses Streamline Kootenai of giving a "false indication" that the commissioners will go from full-time to part-time if the initiative passes.

"I don't think the commissioners are all on board to have three part-time commissioners," said Spencer, who ran unsuccessfully for commissioner in the primary election.

The letter further challenges Streamline Kootenai's statement that the restructuring will produce more government accountability.

"Changing our county government to one that has an unelected manager will decrease accountability to the voters," the letter states.

If the alternative form of government is approved, the document notes, the county will not be able to "change it back, if it doesn't work out, for at least four years" under state statute.

Adams said he signed the letter because he worries about losing separation of powers, if several electeds become hired.

"I see this as opening the door for more cooperation," Adams said.

Gookin said he would be in favor of the alternate county government, if the number of commissioners expanded to five or seven.

"If they were to take the four electeds (off the ballot), and replace them with four additional part-time commissioners, then in my opinion, that would mean more oversight," Gookin said.

Commissioner Dan Green could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Commissioner Jai Nelson said she does think it is unrealistic at this point to make the commissioners part-time.

"We have so many things we're required to do by statute, and that we cannot delegate," Nelson said, adding that she often works nights, mornings and weekends. "If I were to have a part-time job, it would be very, very difficult."

Changing the commissioners' pay can't be guaranteed, she pointed out, as commissioners set their own salaries.

"Even if this board determined something, the next board could increase it or decrease it," she said.

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  • 3Cheers posted at 10:19 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    3Cheers Posts: 480

    If a new administrator can make budget cuts, why can't the commissioners? That is their job, and they aren't doing it.

  • rationaldiscussionplz posted at 2:51 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    rationaldiscussionplz Posts: 266

    Dan Green and Todd Tondee have both also mentioned "supporting property rights," but they too have worked with the KEA and out-of-state interests in bringing together the ULUC to severely curtail property rights in Kootenai County. Their strong support for eliminating citizens' rights to vote for county treasurer, coroner, assessor and clerk while consolidating greater power into the commissioners' position is equally bad. They have got to go.

    Write-in campaigns are difficult, but I hope people go to the polls prepared to vote for write-in candidates this year.

    Todd Tondee is facing write-in candidates Tim Herzog and Jack Schroeder.
    Dan Green is facing write-in candidate Gordon Ormesher, Jr.

    I encourage you to write those names down and take them to the polls with you when you vote. Even though poll workers are required to verbally give the names of write-in candidates on request, many may be unprepared to do that, so PLEASE go to the polls prepared with the write-in candidates' names in-hand.

  • Wolfeyes posted at 10:56 am on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    Wolfeyes Posts: 85

    Jai Nelson is opposed to part-time commissioners beacuse she want to preserve her $72 K+ income. She indicated this in a Press interview some months ago. If she could have an administrator do most of her job and still get paid full compensation, then why create any stir. Yes she is smart, but not smart enough. Her position to have the administrator is noted in the papers, she was only against the fact that both parts were on one ballot. Have you ever heard of hiring a manager and having no one to manage. A complete lack of understanding of any type of management. And CDGE, you're right one. Some in the Phil Hart camp still believe that Nelson is one of them. She has skillfully managed to blind them to her effort in opposing property rights. She is the only commissioner to work with KEA to take away someones rights. Nelson will go with the wind. She needed the rural community, so she was a rural activist by her own words. When she lost she became hard right. Wonder what she will be in the next election. Guess is depends on which way the county shifts or not in the next two years. As far as Dan Green goes, he did not hide the fact of the manager during either of his campaigns. No matter how you feel about him, he was honest and upfront with the people. I rather have an honest person even if I do not agree with him or her than to have someone that can change on a dime. Problem is we need term limits. No more than two terms, 4 each time and then you are out. Maybe we can then get commissioners that really care and don't have to be beholden to whatever group put them in. We need commissioners that represent all of us. Thats why 5 or 7 made the most sense and gives the people the best representation. Maybe its time for the people to create a ballot measure rather than the commissioners. If we get enough signatures and it fits the states guidelines, then who knows, we just might win. Isn't this what this is all about. Better representation and more direct communications with the elected officials.

  • estatetracker posted at 12:47 am on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    estatetracker Posts: 369

    In the most extreme definition of "streamlining government" a dictatorship comes to mind. Really, couldn't they have bought (or rented) a better catch phrase?

    $30K in private political donations that all lead to a seemingly quick, efficient form of leadership--and several ex-multinational corporate CEO's behind the wheel--and they give us "streamline" as if it was a more rounded areodynamic version of an old vacuum cleaner, which at best only worked as good as a stiff broom.

    That is the mentality behind the Initiative; name it something from the late 60's and just maybe it will trigger memories of days gone-by; back in the day when people thought that waxing their car would make it go faster. You know the angle.

    Glad Jai Nelson has kept her head out of the fray, she is smart, intuitive, diligent, basically good, and should deserve part of her co-workers pay due to having to remind (teach) her counterparts County Code during most public hearings.

    Rename it, start the process with a vote first to add two more Commissioners and then see if the rest flies or dies. At minimum, what the public will gain (with five Commissioners) is a broader perspective of ways to make the County better. At present, just two elected officials hold too much power over the future of 300,000 of us who rely on this place and don't want to move because of politics and short-sighted politicions who can't handle this animal between golf with the rich or closing the financing deal on a late model, low milage Kia at that stip-mall we refer to as Post Falls.

    We deserve better.

  • CDGE posted at 1:26 pm on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    CDGE Posts: 23

    Jai Nelson was opposed to consolidating 'hiring a manager' and 'appointment' of county positions into one ballot measure. She thought they should be separate issues.
    On another note, Jai Nelson is very "environmentally" leaning, pro ULUC, pro KEA.
    Has anyone stopped to think about the fact that these officials have sworn to defend the Constitution? How does taking away our right to vote and ALLOWiNG us to use our property the way THEY see fit, do that? Time for some Statesman. Write-out these fascists. Jack Schroeder and Gordy Ormesher.

  • rationaldiscussionplz posted at 11:05 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    rationaldiscussionplz Posts: 266

    I've been wondering about Nelson's position on all of these things coming from the commissioners' office recently. Tondee and Green are running roughshod over assorted rights, pushing an agenda to take away votes, reduce accountability to voters and consolidate power under themselves, but Nelson has been strangely quiet about all of this.

  • dtsinidaho posted at 9:03 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    dtsinidaho Posts: 250

    My leaning is to want to vote for this form of Government. My caution says DON'T DO IT! I think I will go for a NO vote. Then have them bring it back on a case by case basis. Wholesale change is usually a major malfunction in the making.

    So, let's vote no right now. Then, go with a professional manager that will work with each department, and find out some streamlining possibilities. This will ease the issue of the GREEN vs. EVERYBODY issue by putting a buffer in place. Then, have the PROFESSIONAL make suggestions using anecdotal situations he/she has encountered to prove a case for de-electifing (yea, new word) offices.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 8:16 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 410

    STREAMLINE KOOTENAI COUNTY is not about "streamlining" government and improving efficiencies. It's about Power and Control from a select group. Having a county manager position means less accountability and isolating the public. This manager position would not answer to the taxpayers and opens the door for possible corruption. When we have 3 Commissioners doing the job they are "supposed to do", they are accountable for their decisions to you and me, the voting public.

    With the "new" form of government proposed in place, the Commissioners are out of the loop of day to day business and those decisions are made by an UNELECTED person that you can't vote out of office.

    Our "inefficient government", far from perfect yes, currently has those necessary checks and balances that safeguard the public. All of our elected officials are approachable. I have had absolutely no trouble in meeting and speaking with the Assessor, Treasurer, County Clerk, and the Commissioners if necessary. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with the Coroner on those type of "grave matters" and hopefully not soon!

    If I am fortunate enough to get elected this time as a Write-In for District 1, County Commissioner, my first goal is the restore the MORALE of county employees. That is one very important aspect for success or failure, both in government and the private sector! Apparently, our current Commissioners don't realize or just don't care how important that is.

    The 700 or so county employees are just people like you and me, that work everyday and in times like this, should not have to fear losing their job because of an "AT WILL" policy that means they can be "let go" for no apparent reason or at the whim of the Commissioners!

    I have managed 50 skilled people in a manufacturing setting over 26 years ago and you motivate people by giving them a sense of ownership, motivating by example and listening to their concerns and making them feel that they are an important part of government, not just another number!

    The best way to make government or business more efficient is though the people that work there, not by the 3 residents that occupy the ivory tower. The success of our county government depends on the dedicated people that are employed there.

    Changing the form of government we currently have would fail to address the REAL ISSUES. Leadership starts at the top and when we have effective leaders that can address the workers in a HUMAN way and not in a "your just a number" way, things will improve! If you know a county worker, just ask them!

    Tim Herzog
    Write-in Candidate, District 1, County Commissioner
    "It's time for a positive difference"

  • crust123 posted at 8:11 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 217

    news flash mr d, we have had a good ole boy system in town for years, under the current system... are you suggesting we have a shortage of corruption in our current form of government full of elected officials... locally, statewide, nationally??

  • votingcountyemployee posted at 7:50 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    votingcountyemployee Posts: 25

    not true at all, crust. I have worked in this environment for quite some time. This is the 1st time I have felt compelled enough to be so involved in voicing my opinion about commissioners needing to go. They are by far the worst I have ever seen. And its not only about the issues of reforming the government. Its about the fact they say they want to save money and then yet have a plan for 36 million dollars of wasteful spending with their " master plan". Its about constantly cutting and stepping on all the county employees. The moral has never been lower. Its about the fact that NONE of the current commissioners have ever bothered to show up and see how thing are run in our department, as other previous commissioners have done. Its about the rude arrogance that ONE commissioner in particular has. Its about the commissioners trying to obtain a board to hear the appeals so they dont have to do the job they were elected to do.Never before have I had as many complaints of commissioners. In the past I have not always agreed with everything past commissioner have stood for or done, but I did not feel like they should be out of office. Sorry you dont know me to make a judgement to say "the current beat continues"

  • mister d posted at 7:48 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I will never vote for something that takes away my opportunity to vote for the best candidate. This stramline form of government is just a way to get in a tight good ole boy system.

  • crust123 posted at 6:36 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 217

    I understand the issue quite clearly county employee. I will be voting in favor of it as it clearly is a better option than the current ineffective form of county government. I understand the fear of change and the concern over making certain posititions employees rather than elected officials, but I also understand the benefits. We would no longer have elected commissioners with who knows what for credentials, responsible for running a multi million dollar budget and county. We would actually put it in the hands of a professional. What a scary thought eh.
    You claim to want the current form of county government but want the current commissioners thrown out. Then you will not be happy with the next commissioners... And the current beat continues...

  • votingcountyemployee posted at 5:45 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    votingcountyemployee Posts: 25

    This is so true, Vote to RETAIN the current form of government. Also write in Gordon OrmesherJr against Dan Green, and Tim Herzog against Todd Tondee. These 2 commissioners have definately got to go.

  • votingcountyemployee posted at 5:41 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    votingcountyemployee Posts: 25

    I hope people understand this issue and get out and vote to RETAIN the current form of government. Also write in Gordon Ormesher JR against Dan Green, and Tim Herzog against Todd Tondee. BOTH these commissioners need to be replaced, for sure!

  • Hayden Joe posted at 5:31 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    Hayden Joe Posts: 189

    My daughter works "under" Green.

    Add to the list that he is a stand-offish snob to anyone not in his social class.

    The other two commissioners are down to earth and relate well to county staff.

  • Will Penny posted at 4:26 am on Fri, Nov 2, 2012.

    Will Penny Posts: 333

    WOW, that's twice this week I've agreed with Larry Spencer!! First on good ol' boy, $588,000 an acre morse and now this. greene is a mess, just ask most county employees. He's a worthless whining sniveler and those are his good points. No to him and his pie in the sky "streamline" dog and pony show. The change I want in county gov't is greene gone!

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