What a way to ring in the new year! First, our Idaho Vandals’ came through with a terrific victory in the Humanitarian Bowl, held here in Boise, followed by our hometown Boise State Broncos’ football team’s upset victory over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl! Congratulations to everyone involved with both Idaho programs. You’re a class act!
There is much to tell about what has been going on in county government, but things haven’t slowed down enough to take the time to write about it all, so here are a few of the highlights:
• We’re saving you more money. I was concerned about collect telephone call charges we were paying to the State of Idaho for the Public Defender’s Office to talk with state prison inmates. After meeting with Idaho Department of Corrections Director Brent Reinke, we have now gotten word that the county (and similar public entities) will no longer be charged these collect call fees. Savings to Ada County taxpayers will be somewhere between $650 and $900 a month.
• I now have in my possession a copy of a letter from a candidate for Vice President of Local 149 that confirms what we already knew intuitively: the fire union is behind the strong push by the Boise Fire Department to take over ambulance transport services. Our motivation is a lot different from that of the union. As our mission states, at Ada County Paramedics, we want to, “Provide an innovative, effective and efficient Emergency Medical Services System to safeguard and enhance the health and quality of life of those we serve.”
• We’re ensuring openness in government. Last week, my colleagues and I withheld approval of an agreement between Ada County and the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security for a radio system master site until we could get assurance that future meetings of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council (SIEC) and its subcommittees would all be open and that when and if it became necessary to sign a confidentiality agreement, it would be narrowly construed. Our concerns stemmed from a December 17 meeting of the SIEC’s governance subcommittee that was unnecessarily held behind closed doors. Yesterday, I received a written commitment on these issues from Colonel Bill Shawver, the Director of the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. He wrote, in part, “You have my word that all meetings will be in accordance with all applicable laws and policy. Openness is vital to public trust and the creditability (sic) of the agencies and bodies administering government services.”
The new year is off to a terrific start for local football fans and Ada County taxpayers alike. Let’s hope we score a victory in economic recovery for Idaho residents in 2010 as well.