No job description? No interviews? No problem?
Teton County’s staff report that as of the closing date, the Board of
County Commissioners received 10 job applications for the new planner
position (3 from local residents). Every applicant had an advanced degree
and relevant experience. However, with no formalized job description, the
board went into executive session and deliberated for barely one hour before
announcing that they had selected Mr. Stephen Loosli, (former planner from
Fremont County, Idaho) for the county planner position. No applicant
interviews were conducted in this process, no professional references
checked, and the county staff was never consulted on how Mr. Loosli would
coordinate his work with the existing staff.
Why is this important?
On March 11th, Commissioners Kunz and Park fired County Planner Curt Moore
in order to appoint a planner who, as they put it, is more politically
aligned with their beliefs. At the April 8th Town Hall Meeting, Commissioner
Kunz emphasized that his constituents were not listened to during the recent
Comprehensive Plan process and that he intended to make changes to the Comp
Plan and also the new Teton County land use code. (As you may recall, the
new Comp Plan unanimously passed through both a bipartisan Planning &
Zoning Commission as well as a bipartisan Board of County Commissioners
after over 1,800 citizen volunteer hours, more than 4,000 public inputs, and
over 2+ years of work. All of this grassroots work was formally recognized
by the American Planning Association when the Comp Plan was recently awarded
for "Outstanding Public Outreach".) Both Park and Kunz have
repeatedly emphasized the need for openness and fairness in government to
gain the public trust, however, this hiring process has been anything but
open, fair, or transparent.
What happens next?
- THIS FRIDAY, April 19th at 8am: Code Studios (the consultant team hired to draft Teton County's new land use code) will meet with the Board of County Commissioners to discuss their work to date on drafting ordinances to match up with the new Comp Plan. The Commissioners have also invited Mr. Loosli to attend and (presumably) discuss the changes that Commissioner Kunz has proposed making to the new Comp Plan.
- THIS MONDAY, April 22nd at approx. 10am: The Board of County Commissioners will meet with Mr. Loosli to discuss his service contract and assign him upcoming tasks as county planner. Commissioner Park has publicly stated that Curt Moore was partly fired in order to save the county money, so it will be critical to see how this service contract is structured and what kind of work Mr. Loosli will be doing.
- In addition, come meet Sen. Davis, Rep. Loertscher, and Rep. Gibbs on Monday! At 1pm on Monday, April 22, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, Rep. Tom Loertscher, and Rep. Marc Gibbs will be meeting with the Board of County Commissioners to give a legislative update. Our tiny little county rarely gets attention from our state level electeds, so to have all 3 of them here is a terrific opportunity for Q&A with our legislators. From the failed liquor law amendments to Idaho's new land use laws, there have been many state level issues in 2013 that impact small communities like ours. So bring your questions, thoughts, and ideas!
PLEASE NOTE: ALL of these meetings are open to the public and will be held
in the commissioners' meeting room on the first floor of the new county
courthouse in Driggs.
Want to send in public comment? You can contact your county commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to read more?
- Here is the Valley Citizen's coverage of the County Commissioners' new hire. New Planner Carries Baggage to Teton County.