We’re living in times when many of our institutions are under attack.
Americans are questioning everything like never before and perhaps the biggest target of that scrutiny is our government.
This was evident this past weekend when many people’s response to two deadly mass shootings within a 24-hour span was to say that our government in one way or another was behind the incidents that left a combined 32 people dead and more than four dozen injured.
Our reaction to that kind of talk is to shake our heads in disbelief. Such conspiracy chatter is absolute nonsense.
But welcome to 2019 America.
This mistrust in government is in full view here in Bannock County as well.
Perhaps the most badly botched countywide property reassessment in the county’s history has resulted in organized efforts to recall Bannock County Assessor Sheri Davies and all three of the county’s commissioners.
Those organizing the recall effort are contemplating recalling Pocatello’s mayor and City Council over dissatisfaction with them too, mostly over the council’s proposed 48 percent pay raise for itself and 13 percent raise for the mayor.
It’s hard to imagine a time in Bannock County’s history when the public’s anger at its local officials was more intense.
From what we’re being told, the recall efforts to oust Davies and commissioners Terrel “Ned” Tovey, Steve Brown and Ernie Moser are gaining a lot of support from county residents. That support will be needed because 9,101 signatures from registered Bannock County voters are required just to put each candidate recall on the election ballot in either November 2019 or March 2020, depending on when those signatures are turned in to the county.
It’s easy at times like this for all of us to pile on our government.
Government missteps are reported every day by the media and the countywide reassessment was clearly a sizable misstep in our corner of the world.
But is recalling so many of our elected officials the right course?
When it comes to Davies, without a doubt she should be recalled.
We’ve said before that she should simply resign and spare herself and the county from having to go through with the recall process but so far that hasn’t happened.
What about the county commissioners? Should they be recalled too?
From the line of people at the Pocatello farmers market waiting to sign recall petitions on Saturday, it appears there is no shortage of county residents who think so.
We believe the commissioners’ biggest mistake in this reassessment debacle has been supporting Davies.
We might be in the minority in saying this but we support the commissioners and don’t believe they should be recalled.
But for them to save their political careers they need to win over county residents, which is something they’ve thus far failed to do.
We would suggest that the commissioners regain the confidence of their constituents by immediately undoing the countywide reassessment by reversing all property assessments in the county back to their 2018 levels.
We’re certain such a move would end the recall effort against the commissioners and return some sense of normalcy to our community, which has been painfully gripped by this reassessment controversy for most of the summer.
It’s a fact that the countywide reassessment conducted earlier this year by the Bannock County Assessor’s Office was overflowing with errors and incompetence. We’re a bit baffled by the commissioners’ stubbornness not to end the madness and revert everyone back to 2018’s assessment figures.
Regarding the Pocatello City Council and Mayor Brian Blad, we’re as disturbed as everyone else by the massive proposed pay raises but beyond that Pocatello’s leaders seem like weak candidates for a recall.
Pocatello’s residents, however, will be watching to see what the council decides later this month on the salary increase issue and no doubt recall organizers will be poised to pounce depending on the council’s decision.
But for now, we support Pocatello’s mayor and council in that we don’t believe they should be recalled.
It says something about our form of government that everyday people have the right to even try to oust their elected officials via the recall process.
That type of thing is obviously not going to happen in many other countries across the globe where leaders rule with an iron fist and are not going to allow a system of government in which regular folks can boot them from their positions.
That being said, we all need to think long and hard about recalling our elected officials because it’s a very serious matter.
Another way to change our leadership is obviously during our annual primary and general elections. We would hope that the many Bannock County residents who are so excited about recalling their elected officials will not forget to vote in future elections.
The county assessor and commissioners as well as Pocatello’s council and mayor are all elected by the voters. So at one point many of us had faith in our current leadership in Bannock County and Pocatello.
Are they all so bad at their jobs that they now deserve to be recalled?
We implore everyone to give that question some serious thought before answering.