Former Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commissioners Michael Clark and Ed Mortensen were reappointed to their former seats after being removed from the board a little over a month ago.
After coming out of an executive session to discuss the individuals, Commissioner Shayne Young moved to approve the reappointment. Commissioner Scott Hancock seconded the motion, despite previously approving the removal of Clark and Mortensen.
“We need that institutional knowledge to help these other guys” Hancock said.
Hancock said Clark and Mortensen will remain on the board until they update the comprehensive plan and the capital improvement plan.
However according to Idaho Code 67-6504, terms for planning and zoning commissioners is a minimum of three years.
“The term of office for members shall be not less than three (3) years, nor more than six (6) years, and the length of term shall be prescribed by ordinance. No person shall serve more than two (2) full consecutive terms without specific concurrence by two-thirds (2/3) of the governing board adopted by motion and recorded in the minutes”.
“We’re not going to go three years,” Hancock said. “That’s the minimum but they’ve already been on the board. And what the deal is, is we want them to help us finish our comprehensive plan. We want that institutional knowledge that is possessed by those two.”
When asked about the code Feb. 5, County Attorney Weston Davis declined to comment. He indicated that the question needed to be raised with the county commissioners.
Hancock said Feb. 5 that they should have been more specific when they indicated the term length. He said they will in fact be on the board for three years, but because it is a voluntary board, they could step down before the three years. This is something Hancock said Clark and Mortensen indicated that they have considered.
During the Dec. 10 meeting, Clark, Mortensen and Bill Stoddard were replaced by Jefferson County residents Heath Lewis, Ryan Ashcraft and Lane Steel. Commissioner Byron Evans was also replaced by Corey Beebe after he was involved in a farming accident late last year. Each of the four replacements will remain on the board.
Before being removed from the board, Clark had served since 2004 and Mortensen since 2006. Hancock told The Jefferson Star Feb. 5 that they haven’t discussed reappointing Stoddard, but may discuss the idea with him at a later date.
“We decided to just put the two on at this time,” he said. “I may talk to Bill to see if he wants to help us on a steering committee.”
With the reappointment of Clark and Mortensen, the board now consists of nine commissioners that also include Warren Albertson (2014-), Ty Belnap (2014-) and Diane Merrill (2018-).
Hancock and former Commissioners Brian Farnsworth and Fred Martinez originally discussed bringing on an additional four members before the end of the year and train them for the next six months, allowing four of the commissioners to step down.
Hathaway told The Jefferson Star Jan. 3 that according to Idaho Code, the board of commissioners are unable to appoint commissioners to terms that lasted less than three years, therefore they were unable to remain on the board to train the new appointees.