At the Board of Island County Commissioners workshop yesterday more disruptive and illegal actions were taken by our illegally elected Chair of the Board Jill Johnson.
Committee assignments for the board members were changed using the “new” power and the “new” laws that Jill Johnson has written for herself and the board. This is the only instance that I can find of Committee assignments being changed while the committees were seated for the year making this action another first in Island County and possibly State history.
While committee assignments are normally left to the Chair of the Board our State Laws are very clear in that this game of “musical Chairs” that Jill Johnson is playing is exactly why we have laws that determine when a chair can be elected to lead the Board and presumably why the State has set the date of the Chairs election and not set a date or procedure for changing the chair in the middle of a term.
This action has to be very disruptive for the members of those Committees that have to interact with the Board Member who has been chosen to be assigned to that committee. We have seen now 3 changes in Committee assignments since the new board has been seated and this is exactly why this is so harmful and embarrassing to our county.
The type of actions that Jill Johnson has taken were one of the reasoning’s that other courts have used in deciding that changing the Board Chair in the middle of a term is illegal.
In Prichard v McBride, one of the court cases we have found that has the exact same issues before the court as BillB’s lawsuit, was heard by the Idaho Supreme Court and these concerns were brought up by one of the Justices in that decision. Here is what Justice J. Budge stated in that decision:
“A construction of the statute to the effect that the commissioners may, at any or all of their regular meetings, make a change in the chairmanship of the board would result , in our judgment, in confusion and a lack of orderly proceeding on the part of the board in dispatching public business which is contemplated by the statutes and which the electors in the county have a right to expect.”
Source: Prichard v McBride
And that is the exact issue that we have in this issue with Jill Johnson’s illegal Chair position and ensuing actions, “confusion and a lack of orderly proceeding on the part of the board in dispatching public business”. I don’t think we could have stated it better ourselves…
We do not have at this time the complete details on which Committee assignments were changed as the recordings are not available on the Commissioners website but we will update this post as soon as the recordings are out and we have time to review them.
Tags: Island County Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson, Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson, Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson, Island County Commissioners, Island County Superior Court, Prichard v McBride, RCW 36.32.100