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Making the Grade: Political Appointments

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Making the Grade: Political Appointments

By www.idahoonyourside.com. CREATED Jul 23, 2014

Each Wednesday, Fox9 takes an in-depth look at education in Idaho. This week, we checked into the most powerful education board in the state. Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert is digging into the political appointments in our Making The Grade report. Below is a transcript of the conversation.

MICHELLE: Hi Kevin, welcome back to making the grade. You have been doing some digging my friend with the state board of education and who Governor Otter chose to replace certain positions with. So let's start with who's now coming on this state board of education.

KEVIN: Okay there are two vacancies in the state board were filled last week. One of them dates all the way back to November you have two folks. David Hill, Who now lives in Boise who had worked as a manager, one of managers at the Idaho national laboratory has a background with the national labs a background in higher education. He's filling one of the positions, the other is being filled by Debbie Critchfield. She is in Oakley. She's been on the school board in cash accounting. She works for the school district and in Cassia County, so she is little more background in K-12. A fairly high powered field of application state board is a is a high profile target. These are fairly high-profile appointments so you had two former legislators a current legislator applying for the position actually made the interview process. Neither were selected. John Geddes who's Chairman Senate education committee who lost in his primary, was one of the applicants who was interviewed. Wendy Jaquet from Ketchum, who was Democrat, about twenty years of experience in legislature I believe. She was interviewed. Melinda Smyser, Senator from Parma was interviewed. She has worked now for Jim Risch's office. Now is heading Jim Risch's campaign so it was sincerely hope high-powered high-profile folks interviewed.

MICHELLE: How many people, how many applications do we have in all? Do you know?

KEVIN: Well we're getting there. We know that twenty four people applied for one of the positions. The position that became opened last fall. We're now being told that thirteen people applied for the most recent position, Milford Terrell 's spot on the state board, but we've been kind of working our way through trying to find out who applied, who these folks are, get some sense of the background we've be trying to get the applications from the governor 's office, we've received some some we haven't received some governor 's office says it has destroyed.

MICHELLE: Destroyed applications?

KEVIN: Yes. What they're saying basically, is that some of the applicants didn't make the initial cut. They didn't get to the interview stage, they didn't get to the screening stage so they destroy the applications because the applications contain personal information.

MICHELLE: Why not just take out the personal information?

KEVIN: Well and that's what they did with the records that they did release. There are things on these applications and drivers license numbers, e-mail addresses, I don't think that anybody is going to argue that those should be in the public realm in an era of identity theft. so the records we did get were redacted, but we only got the records, only got the applications for the candidates of the governor 's office chose to pursue some sort of screening some sort of interview process with so it's not a complete picture.

MICHELLE: Well you say destroyed applications and I think a lot of people suddenly say well wait a second, destroyed applications. Is there anything illegal here you can find so far.

KEVIN: I don't think so and really, the law is fairly silent about records retention. The closest that I can find at this point is a policy that deals with applications for state jobs. But these aren't jobs they are political appointments. They are not full-time positions. They're a seat on a board, so I'm not sure that the employment record retention language would even apply in a situation like this, so it's it's a fairly gray area. it's been kind of interesting to dig in and try to make some sense of it all.

MICHELLE: I bet, Idaho education news digging and trying to figure out exactly what's going on the State Board of Education. Kevin, thank you so much for joining us for making the grade. If you want to read much more about this issue. Kevin has been writing profusely about it at Idaho Ed news .org. We'll continue to bring you updates right here on on your side as well. Kevin thanks.

KEVIN: Thank you.