Tim Plass of Rathdrum announced his candidacy this week for the County Commissioner District 1 position. Plass has been a resident of Kootenai County for 26 years where he and his wife raised their ten children, seven of whom have four-year degrees.
Plass was elected as a Community Library Network Trustee in a heated May election centered on removing obscene books from the minors’ areas of the libraries. Since taking office in June, he has voted to slow the budget growth and reduce taxes while providing recommended salary increases, disassociate from the American Library Association, and helped to create new policies for the selection and removal of library materials, as well as others. Plass emphasized that he will continue to serve and fully engage as a CLN trustee for his full term while also serving as a commissioner.
Recently retired, Plass worked 44 years as a radio electrical engineer. He worked for Hewlett-Packard /Agilent in Liberty Lake on cell phone test equipment, as well as the sixteen prior years in the Bay Area and in Oregon. After Agilent in Liberty Lake closed down, Plass worked for General Dynamics – Itronix, NIOSH (former US Bureau of Mines), and Smiths – Transtector in the Spokane / Coeur d’Alene area and for several military drone companies in Oregon, Insitu and PAE. He worked for Blue Origin for over three years designing the radio system on the first stage of the New Glenn rocket before retiring.
Plass earned an Associate of Science degree at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA, and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering at UC Davis. He holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Plass started his own wireless internet business in 2009, VelociMAX Wireless, providing the first Idaho “family safe” internet service. Working evenings and weekends, without borrowing funds, he built the business to where it serviced hundreds of businesses and residential customers from Hayden and Coeur d’Alene lakes, Rathdrum, and the Spokane Valley to the Palouse. This network provided critical communication links for businesses and major hospitals in the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane area. After eight years of growth, he sold the business in 2017.
Plass explained that as a new retiree, he would like to give back to the community by serving as a commissioner. “I want to help Kootenai County regain fiscal responsibility and become an efficient, well-run county. The unexpected cost overruns with the new justice department building and county expansion near the airport are glaring examples that will probably be paid with future tax increases. Past and present commissioner neglect to adequately plan for the future has brought the county to the point of insufficient staffing of the 9-1-1 call center and other departments. The implementation of impact fees must continue to ensure new development pays for the costs it brings to the county. Affordable single family home ownership should be prioritized since it is what most people want and does the most to commit personal interest to the community.” Plass added that, “Our County needs to balance growth in a way that preserves the attractiveness and quality of life that has drawn all of us here.”
Plass feels well-qualified for the position considering he has the necessary academic, professional and business experience. Starting and growing a successful local business where he developed many happy customers has given him valuable financial and contractual experience as well as a good pulse on community values and expectations of the county government.
Plass is an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Post Falls. He started and led scouting there for seven years, coached basketball teams, was a leader in the Knights of Our Lady chapter, an officer in the Holy Name Society, taught math at the high school for five years, and has been an usher for many years.