Guest Opinions

Lawmakers’ failure to even have meetings shows incompetence, apathy

Joe Overman
Joe Overman

I was appalled by a November article in the Idaho Press, “Lawmakers tasked with truck fee raise never met.” How is it that two paid representatives of the state government, co-chairman Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, and Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, who are tasked to convene an interim committee to address a major issue such as funding for highway improvements, failed to fulfill their task?

The paper cited a 2011 state task force report that Idaho needs “$262 million a year more just to preserve its road and bridges as-is and $543 million a year to make needed improvements for safety and capacity.” What has this committee done to move to some resolution of this problem over the past couple of years? Apparently nothing.

Why are these individuals, who have been derelict in their duty, still being paid to do a job that they did not do? This appears to be a severe case of incompetence on their part as representatives of the people of Idaho. In the private sector of the labor force, an employee who displays a complete lack of competency is terminated from employment.

As a state taxpayer I believe that these two individuals should be relieved of their positions for misrepresentation of the state and required to repay the state for the years of compensation they received for not performing their responsibility assigned.

I believe that fraud might be a word that could be applied in this case, as it appears that they have received taxpayer money and not performed the services for which they are being paid.

According to the Idaho Legislature website, legislators are paid $17,017 for the session. Divide $17,017 by 59 weekdays equals $288.42 per day, divided by eight hours per day equals $36.05 per hour, plus they receive per diem for each day they are in session. I believe this is more than the state median income. They are being paid more than the average individual to work in our best interest, yet they are not serving the people in a competent manner.

I believe it is time for the people of Idaho to receive proper representation from our elected officials, or kick these incompetent individuals out of office.

With the recent articles in the Idaho Press and the Idaho Statesman referring to all the new committee assignments, I would hope that there will be someone appointed to this committee who will make some positive changes.

Joe Overman is a Nampa resident.