We finally settled with the offended IEN contractors for $3.4 million. Gov. Butch Otter said, “It was very important to get this issue taken care of so we can stay focused on our efforts to build and maintain” — blah, blah, blah ... quality education. Yeah, right. He could have accepted lower court rulings long ago but continued to fight on at taxpayer expense. House Speaker Scott Bedke said the settlement was “in the best interests of Idaho’s reputation.” Everybody seems eager to put this mess behind us and move on. I couldn’t agree more.
But before we go, whatever happened to Mike Gwartney? You know, the governor’s old sidekick who was tasked with negotiating the IEN contract. Empowered by Otter, Gwartney bullied his way into an illegal, grossly inflated contract worth millions to a couple of internet providers who just happened to be big contributors to Butch’s campaign. That contract cost Idaho a lot more than reputation and the latest $3.4 million.
So, did I miss something? Is Gwartney under investigation or in jail somewhere? Will he pay any penalty for his actions? Or is he just quietly doing Butch’s yard work or something?
Jim Liljenquist, Idaho Falls