banner photo of Idaho and Brian Farnsworth


To the Editor, The Jefferson Star:

"As a paid subscriber, I read with great disappointment that the people of Jefferson County on one issue (the commissioners' raises) voted out Chairman Brian Farnsworth in the primary election. He was right almost 100 percent of the time. He stood in opposition to the wrongs in Jefferson County, and I on the front lines, saw it happen. Who introduced the practice of recording every meeting? Farnsworth. Tired of being marginalized, and disagreeing with the minutes, Farnsworth requested that the meetings all be recorded. This was a great move toward transparency for the county. Now anyone can request a CD of any commissioners' meeting.

"Who introduced the idea of buying or building a new building to save taxpayers $60,000 per year? Farnsworth. The others were wishy-washy. Jerald Raymond actually wanted to buy Robin Dunn's overpriced and over-fancy building.

"Who refused to pay Dunn for representing the county as prosecuting attorney in the Eagle Rock Sanitation civil federal lawsuit? Farnsworth. Raymond and Tad Hegsted overruled Farnsworth and paid it anyway. AG Lawrence Wasden, in an opinion, said that a prosecuting attorney should represent the county in all court actions. Later Dunn paid it back, but not entirely. He still paid his county employees double for county work and for work on the civil lawsuit. Dunn was considered for indictment for this. Who brought up and corrected the practice of crushing vehicles with county equipment at the Circular Butte Landfill? Farnsworth. The other commissioners (Hegsted and Raymond) were visibly uninterested in the issue.

"Who brought up abuses in leasing equipment by the public works administrator? Farnsworth. He asked then-Public Works Administrator Jim Boulter once, "Are we renting this (a light tower) or are we buying it?" Boulter then admitted that he had set up a lease-to-buy deal with a company, without commissioner approval. This was different in the past: I remember vividly the purchase of the Posi-Shell. Then-Chairwoman Debbie Karren's comment to Boulter was: "What is your recommendation, Jim?" Jim said they needed the Posi-Shell. Now the county has tried several times to sell this worthless equipment.

"Who asked for Sheriff Blair Olsen to step aside during the investigation into felony charges? Farnsworth. Commissioner Scott Hancock and Raymond were against it. Raymond even said, at one point, that he would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Olsen for his right to an investigation. Olsen requested an investigation, was charged with crimes, then said the Attorney General had no right to investigate. It was ridiculous. Later, it was revealed, and upheld by the courts, that the Attorney General could seek charges associated with witness intimidation for threatening Sam Dye because Olsen wouldn't step aside. The AG luckily never sought those charges.

"So, in review, Farnsworth was voted out in the primary election due to an issue of a raise. [NOTE: click here for the real story of the so-called "raise".]

"Mark my words, Jefferson County: with the growth you are experiencing, you will face the same raise issue within five years. You can't ask regular folks to oversee your county forever for less than $30,000 per year. You might be able to ask wealthy retired folks, but that's it.

"Brian Farnsworth, who you voted out, oversaw the greatest movement toward transparency the county had seen in decades. You might be heading backwards."

--Charlie VanLeuven

"I have worked with many Commissioners over the years. Brian has been one of the most dedicated hard-working commissioners. He always puts the interest of the County first in all of his decision-making. "

--Roger Christensen, Bonneville County Commissioner

"Like it or not, the population of Jefferson County is growing fast. Jefferson County must adjust their methods to efficiently meet increased demands for county services. Brian recognized this and as a commissioner took on more work to modernize county operations. Brian voted to increase commissioner salary due to their increased work load and is trying to attract and keep good county employees. Brian’s detractors portray this as negative and some want to go back to the crony government of past decades. Brian needs to continue his good work to keep the county out of debt, keep our good employees and ensure that the county can provide services needed by a quickly increasing population."

--Ward Whitmore

"I have been involved with a controversial issue with the County, and have met with the Commissioners on numerous occasions. As the chair of the Board of Commissioners, Brian Farnsworth has always been courteous, attentive, patient, and fair-minded. Although the issue is not yet resolved, Brian's leadership, control of the agenda and progress of these meetings, and his communication with the public have been impressive. He's a fine Commissioner, and a man that I'd like to see re-elected. If only the absurdly lazy and incompetent County Prosecutor had the integrity of Brian Farnsworth, this issue would have been resolved months ago."

-- William Smith

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