Describing the diligent, business-like approach taken by the School District 271 Board of Trustees in selling some unneeded land to the City, Couer d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem (shown left) was quoted in this morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press article as saying, “I’m saddened it came to this. In all good faith, we gave [a portion of Person Field] to the district.”
According to the Press article, “…the city gave the school district its half of Person Field in a ‘good faith’ deal roughly 20 years ago so the school district could receive land near Lake City High School while keeping enough property near Lakes Middle School to keep accreditation. Now, the city said, it will be more diligent in future deals, instead of counting on ‘good faith’ ones to pay dividends in the future.”
Bloem is “saddened” that the School District Trustees, custodians of the people’s money, took a businesslike and diligent approach to handling that money?
Bloem’s sadness apparently reflects the lackadaisical, unbusinesslike approach taken roughly 20 years ago by irresponsible elected and appointed officials in Coeur d’Alene City Hall and at School District 271. The lack of diligence by some City department heads contributed to the alleged embezzlement of tens of thousands of dollars by former City Finance Office employee Sheryl Carroll.
The Press article also reported that some members of the Coeur d’Alene City Council believed that the statutorily-required appraisals for Person Field and Bryan Playfield were too high, that the appraisals should have been based not on the actual zoning of the land but on some different zoning that would have produced a lower appraisal. Yet when the City was eagerly encouraging North Idaho College to purchase the 17 acres of land for the so-called Education Corridor, the City Council happily rezoned that land to C-17 (commercial) to justify the higher appraisal for it. Never mind that the rest of NIC was already zoned R-17, a residential zoning that would not have supported the inflated purchase price the NIC Trustees were salivating to pay.
Now the City promises to be “more diligent in future deals.” Given their past performance, it appears doubtful that the Mayor, four of her cronies on the Council, and the City’s department heads are even capable of the diligence required of public administrators in the 21st century.