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April 15, 2021


  • CDA Councilman Dan Gookin voted in as Chair.
  • Board discusses ways to handle applications for the study commission.
  • Marc Eberlein resigns position on committee.

First meeting ends in resignation

The Alternative Forms of Government ad-hoc committee met for the very first time Tuesday evening and it did not go as expected. Or maybe it went exactly as expected? You decide.

The ad-hoc committee (AHC) was put in place to pick the 9 members of society who will meet and study the county to see if an alternative form of government is necessary…again. This process has been done two times in the past and both times the voters adamantly said NO to any form of government besides the 3-person commissioner panel. It was Commissioner Bill Brooks’ idea (not the first time he's advocated for an alt. form of government) to start this study again and seconded by Commissioner Chris Fillios. Commissioner Leslie Duncan has been vocally against this study, the committee, and anything having to do with alternative forms of government. 

The idea behind the ad-hoc committee was to keep the commissioners out of the study process and hopefully keep politics out. It’s ironic, however, that the commissioners made a committee to form a committee to study if the county needs another way of doing things – to keep politics out of it of course. Umm…ok.

The ad-hoc committee has one person chosen by each commissioner and the only rule is that the meetings have to be open to the public. Any other rules can be created and voted upon by the AHC themselves; any state rules don’t apply until the actual study committee is formed.

The ad-hoc committee consists of:
  • CDA Councilman Dan Gookin (Brooks)
  • Kootenai County analyst Nanci Plouffe (Fillios)
  • Former Kootenai County Commissioner Marc Eberlein (Duncan)

Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin was voted in as Chair and the committee started the meeting by discussing how they would receive applications and resumes. The board voted to use the county’s current advisory board application and ask for a resume to be attached to that form. The county will advertise the call for applications on the website, Facebook, and the CDA Press.

The second agenda item brought contention among the three members as Marc Eberlein had a way he wanted to choose from applicants while Dan Gookin and Nanci Plouffe wanted to go a different route. Eberlein wanted each member to choose 3 applicants to recommend, whether or not they all interview together he didn’t care. Gookin and Plouffe wanted to interview together and then make the recommendations as a group. Eberlein’s argument to that was that no matter who is recommended, an AHC member would find something wrong with each candidate and the three of them wouldn’t be able to find 9 candidates that they all agree on together.

The discussion continued with some choice quotes:
•    DG: We could make a motion to tell the commissioners to “do their damn job” and dissolve this AHC.
•    DG: I am not a proxy for Brooks and I think he’s going to learn that real fast.
•    DG: Commissioners had their chance, they showed that they had no spine, and they opted to create a committee, which I think is political cowardice so it falls upon us.
•    DG: This is the committee to select the committee. Only government does that!
•    DG: What our job is to do is what our 3 coward commissioners failed to do.
•    DG: There’s no guarantee that because we’re up here we’ll be on the committee. Theoretically we could apply and appoint ourselves but that’s not the discussion right now. The discussion is how to process when resumes come in. 
•    NP: I don’t necessarily see their decision to have this ad-hoc committee as cowardice, I think it was more of, especially Commissioner Fillios, to step aside so it didn’t appear political in their selections. I think they’re hoping that we could be a little bit more open-minded with the people coming before us.
•    DG: I am being open-minded but I am going criticize them for what I think is a bad decision.

Eberlein made a motion to review the applications, and each member of the AHC come back with 3 recommendations, and if there’s a big problem with one person then they discuss it together. Plouffe had a problem with the motion because she wants interaction and discussion on the committee and thinks it’s more beneficial to select them as a committee. Ultimately this will go in front of the voters so she wants people that are open-minded, can look at the data, and do research. There was no second on Eberlein’s motion so it failed.

Nanci Plouffe made a new motion to look at all the candidates together and discuss the attributes of each candidate. Marc asks the question about if members will be able to veto a vote or if it’ll be a 2-1 vote. They were given multiple options about handle the way things were voted upon but Gookin wanted to get back to the motion at hand before discussing those details. Gookin seconds the motion and the motion passes, 2-1.

After the motion passed Mark decided he has had enough of the runaround seeing that nothing good will come of always being voted against. If each AHC member can’t pick three people to bring to the study commission he says, then it’s always going to be biased between 2 of the 3 people so because of that Eberlein resigned from the ad-hoc committee. 

“I do not feel we have sufficient representation. If we were choosing 3 members out of 9 to represent Leslie, myself, and others who are not in favor of this, I feel it’s 2-1 so I can’t do it.” -Marc Eberlein

At this time Dan Gookin stops the meeting because, although there’s still a quorum, he’d like to have 3 people on the committee. The commissioners have the authority to appoint another person to the committee so Nancy Jones (“County PR Goddess”) will get that on their schedule as soon as she can find some time. Gookin commented that he’ll be absent all next week so there’s an extra week to play with for the commissioners to figure out what they want to do.

The new AHC member discussion has not been put on the commissioners’ agenda yet so be on the lookout for the next step in this crazy, backwards-world process.
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