Boise County clerk targeted by recall effort

Mary Prisco
Mary Prisco

A group of Boise County residents is collecting signatures to put the recall of County Clerk Mary Prisco to voters, according to a spokeswoman for the group.

The recall effort comes on the heels of investigations into two separate incidents of theft from county coffers in the past couple of years.

“She’s just taking no accountability for anything,” said Dee Woodstrom, who worked for three county clerks, including Prisco, during a decade with the county. “There’s funds being stolen. A lot of people don’t even know it’s going on, and a lot just can’t believe the fact that it happened. I guess as a taxpayer, I just don’t want to lose any more of my money.”

Prisco provided a written statement to the Statesman Tuesday, saying “I want to be ultra-clear: I consider each and every allegation of the recall petition to be profoundly untrue and completely inaccurate.”

Prisco was elected in 2010 and ran unopposed in 2014. She’s a CPA who came to the job with 30 years of corporate work experience.

Two county employees were fired last year after $1,700 in cash went missing as it was being transferred from the clerk’s office to the treasurer’s office, which is in the same building. In October, Rana Klingner, a former clerk’s office employee, was charged with two felony counts of grand theft. She’s accused of taking nearly $47,000 over two years.

Woodstrom said there were a half dozen people who got together to begin the recall petition effort, including former county commissioners Vicki Wilkins and Barbara Balding. Former Commissioner Jamie Anderson also signed the group’s petition.

The petition accuses Prisco of dereliction of duties, failure to implement security procedures to protect taxpayer dollars, lack of leadership and supervision of employees, and failure to “admit responsibility for the missing funds from her office.” The full petition is posted on the group’s Facebook page, called “Recall Boise County Clerk.”

Woodstrom said the group aims to get the matter on the November ballot. They must collect nearly 900 signatures of registered voters, according to state law. Woodstrom said they must be turned in with 75 days of the initial petition’s certification on Feb. 11.

An informational meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Idaho City Library’s Community Room, 123 Montgomery St. Woodstrom said petitions have been placed at Idaho City Hardware, Tom’s Service in Idaho City and The Haven in Lowman.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

Full statement by County Clerk Mary Prisco

“Since taking office in January of 2011, in the capacity of Clerk of Boise County, I have maintained a level of professionalism, integrity, competency and honesty, in the worst of situations. I want to be ultra-clear: I consider each and every allegation of the recall petition to be profoundly untrue and completely inaccurate.

I spent the majority of 2011 working with a team of County officials to file and defend a petition for bankruptcy, filed with the Federal Bankruptcy Court. The petition for bankruptcy was the result of a judgment of $4 million, plus $1.4 million in attorney fees, handed down in December 2010, due to a Planning & Zoning matter. The County’s annual budget is approximately $9 million and has been so since 2011.

In 2012, that same team worked vigorously with legislative representatives attempting to revise State statutes, such that we could legally refinance our debt. We were ultimately successful but we were required to hold a special election asking for voter approval – such election was held in May 2012 and was successful. The summer months of 2012 were spent with financial and banking institutions to solidify the refinancing of our legal debt.

The 2013 and 2014 years were extremely stressful and difficult for me, as I attempted to work with an increasingly hostile and dysfunctional board of county commissioners.

In 2015, with a new board of county commissioners – brand new after the sudden resignation of Vicki Wilkins and the appointment of Laura Baker – there was a sense of optimism throughout our County employee and officials group.

Significant developments were made in establishing policy and compliance with those policies throughout the County organization.”