Openness and transparency in Ada County


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Openness and transparency in Ada County

By Roland Beres. CREATED Sep 12, 2012

Openness and transparency in government...Ada County commissioners Sharon Ullman and Rick Yzguirre say they're all for it.

But, commissioner Dave Case may be the real defender of those concepts. We're on your side with why the county withheld important information from you about the Dynamis waste to energy project,
and why Dave Case stepped up to do what his fellow commissioners would not.

"I find it appalling that the commissioners would completely ignore the will of the public they were elected to serve," says Case. That's what he told a member of the citizens for a safe environment and a transparent government who shot video of a contentious meeting where Case's fellow commissioners were accused of ramrodding the Dynamis project in secret.

"I cannot sit idly by and see all this stuff going on behind closed doors," he added. He points to this letter as an example. Written by county engineer Jim Farrens to his supervisor Meg Leatherman, it states that a professional peer review of the Dynamis plans and documents is clearly called for to assure the the safety, health and welfare of the public is not jeopardized by the project.

Farren's advice was not followed. But when the Idaho Statesman tried to get this letter, the county said no calling it a personnel issue. Case disagreed and gave it out anyway.

"This was a letter from an employee to his boss involving concerns about a project he was working on. That doesn't constitute a personnel matter," said Case.

Comissioner Ullman contacted us to say she supported keeping the letter secret. Case responds, "Well, that's not very good business practices for government. That's not why we're here. We're here to serve the public and people of Ada County. And if there's something that needs to be released for public protection, we need to honor that."

If the commissioners listened to Farrens, it could take a while to have the Dynamis plans reviewed by an outside engineering firm. Dynamis hopes to break ground by December 1.