Alan Davis take the oath of office on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, in Hayden, Idaho.

Proposed Policy on Board Appointments Takes Center Stage at Hayden Council Meeting

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HAYDEN, IDAHO – On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, shortly after Tom Shafer, Alan Davis, and Matt Roetter were sworn into office, the Hayden City council and mayor discussed a proposed resolution that council member Sandra White viewed as heavy-handed in favor of the mayor.

Council member Tom Shafer confers with fellow council members after taking the oath of office at Hayden City’s business meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

The resolution in question was first brought to the public’s attention when Hayden resident Jeff Coder spoke during public comment. Coder wanted to talk about agenda item 5B, a resolution to adopt standards for outside board appointments, but was told he could not do so as the city operates by rules that only allow public comment on matters which are not on the meeting agenda. “If we are going to have open government, we [have] got to be able to talk about the issues at hand,” asserted Coder. He appeared frustrated and wants the council to change the prohibition on public comments in regards to agenda items.

Council member Roetter, who was recently re-elected to his third term, initiated the discussion on the resolution by sharing his observation that application of the policy would be problematic. Roetter cited his deliberations and votes on an outside board concerning complicated sewer issues. “I’m having trouble understanding,” stated Roetter in reference to whether this policy would encumber him from casting a vote on a separate board before returning for guidance from the council.

Council member Matt Roetter discusses the resolution concerning outside board appointments at the Hayden City business meeting on Tuesday, January 9. 2024.

Council member Ed DePriest, who is half-way into his first four-year term, believes the policy would adequately address the issue of individuals voting their ideology. DePriest invoked the controversy surrounding the traffic management center proposed by the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, on which White currently sits as Hayden’s representative, as an example.

White, who is also in the middle of her first four-year term, said, “We need to take a closer look at Idaho Code 50-210, where I believe the power to decide on commissions and placement is more balanced. White continued her remarks by stating, “As an elected representative my primary responsibility is to the will of the people, and I believe the wording of this resolution misses the mark in the areas of powers and accountability.”

Newly-elected Mayor Davis believes there is a special trust and confidence placed on council to represent the city on boards. “I’m not sure that painting you guys into a corner and tying your hands with such exacting guidance is the way to go here,” Davis said.

Mayor Alan Davis takes his place as the mayor of Hayden after taking the oath of office on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at the city’s regular business meeting.

White proposed they work together in a workshop to enhance and clarify the language. Council member Tom Shafer, who was just elected to his first term, seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.