Sunday, September 19, 2021

Residents suspend efforts to recall library board

by Steve Tanner, Recall Chairman
| August 18, 2021 2:15 PM

BONNERS FERRY — We are suspending the effort to recall the library board and would like to thank those who helped in the petition process and those 500+ who, in a matter of a few weeks, signed the Library Board Recall petition.

Our communitywide supported recall was an effort of the citizens to open the library and promote good government by holding the board responsible for failing to properly operate the library and keeping it open. Soon after we started this petition, the library thankfully resumed operation under a proven manager.

The goal of this recall was to qualify for the Nov. 2021 ballot, and for that, we needed to submit 1,425 signatures of registered voters to the clerk’s office by August 19. We have failed to meet this deadline and believe that continuing to pursue this recall to our final deadline of Sept. 27 will at best result in a recall election next spring. If the recall were successful, the county commissioners would be filling the positions until the regular election process replaces the board in an open election (which will take about six years). We do not believe continuing the current recall petition would bring a timely change to the library board.

The adage that we don’t appreciate the value of something until it is gone is appropriate. The older track record of the county library has been commendable, and for this, the board’s efforts are complimented. With its recent closure, the value of a good library has become evident to the community.

Boundary County Library is its own public taxing district, and the board is to be publicly elected. The library board is not supervised, controlled, or audited by the city or county government, but is directly accountable to the voters. Its records and information are public and should be open to the public, barring specific personnel information, which can be redacted. The shroud of secrecy created by the failure to clearly answer questions and the failure to disclose public information is counter to open government, giving fertile ground for rumors and gossip to proliferate. Open government is the cornerstone of a free society; the opposite is the incubator of lies and tyranny.

Our community is clouded, not only by the thick smoke of wildfires, but also by the fire and smoke of rumors and gossip passed on from social media and the internet. We have a duty to stop the curse of rumors and ask: How do you know? What is the evidence? Is the video valid? What are the verifiable facts? There are standards for valid facts and evidence that must be applied in the effort to find the truth.

As a community and nation, we must resist gossip and operate on facts and truth even if it demonstrates our opinion to be in error.

Our library has had problems that have strained the employees, the board, and the public. Our nation’s problems are far greater, and we should remember to petition God, who has given us life and abundant blessings, requesting health and guidance for the library board, schools, courts and the people to conduct their affairs in the fear of Him obeying His commands.

Library Recall Committee