The Merriam Webster’s definition of integrity – Firm adherence to a code of especially moral and artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY.
This is one of the few things that should be required to hold public office and to our chagrin the last week has brought attention to a couple characters in public office who need to be chastised for their not being able to use that extremely valuable word INTEGRITY to describe themselves. In the July 9th edition of the Idaho Statesman there is a story on former mining executive and State Senator John Tippets appointment being appointed by Governor Otter as head of The Department of Environmental Quality for Idaho. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/07/09/3887330_tippets-slips-into-deq-regulator.html?rh=1
John Tippets is pictured in the article shaking the hand of former Senator Dean Cameron, recently appointed Director of Insurance, soon after passage of The State Healthcare Exchange bill in 2012. What most people don’t realize is that during the debate and public hearing on the exchange Senator Tippets presided as chairman of the hearing committee for the state exchange. What not many people know is that at the time of the hearing Mr. Tippets was a member of the board of IACI (Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry) a huge lobbyists group in Idaho made up of the largest corporations in our state. IACI had been lobbying for the state exchange six months prior to the committee hearings and were strong advocates of implementing the State Health Exchange. During the committee hearings Mr. Cameron made note of the fact that he was an insurance broker and had a conflict of interest with the exchange, but Mr. Tippets never disclosed that he was a board member of IACI and in fact that this was a conflict of interest because of IACI’s strong lobbyists position to create an exchange.
This in our eyes this is not what one would call INTEGRITY, and in fact one might call it devious deception. If then Senator Tippets had any integrity he would have disclosed his conflict of interest because of this position with IACI. Now he is being entrusted with the incredibly important position as head of DEQ, a 360 person agency with a $66 million budget. Here is a man who was employed by an industry that has some of the worst records as polluters in our country. We are putting the proverbial Fox in charge of the Hen House, and a fox who has a history of not being forthright with the people of Idaho. Do you think he will be able to tell the truth to the public when there is a serious environmental breach? This is another of Otter’s appointments of his favored legislators who have done his bidding for many years, and this is their prize for being loyal, a nice job that will increase their pension by huge numbers at the expense of the taxpaying public. When will this cronyism stop?
As for our Governor who appointed Senator Tippets to this important position take a look at another story by the Statesman on July 13, 2015 to see that our Governor is another of those politicians who appears to have a very low standard of integrity when he failed to inform not only the legislators but the public about problems with a $60 million government contract. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/07/12/3893123_letter-shows-otter-knew-of-broadband.html?rh=1
We find our Governor waited some 10 months before informing us about the cancellation of the state’s agreement for federal funding known as “e-rate” dollars, which come from monthly fees on landline and cellphone bills was terminated because of a complaint filed by whistle blower. The Governor knew about this complaint and the cut off of funds on November 14th. 2013, but never informed legislators or the public until near the start of the 2014 legislative session in January. Conveniently he had a lapse of memory until well after the 2014 election. Had this information been out in the public eye, this could have had a detrimental effect on the Governor winning the 2014 primary and a third term as governor. Once again we find out that the only thing most politicians are concerned about is winning the next election, not looking out for the taxpaying public.
We need the legislature to start taking some action when irregularities like this are withheld from the public and from our law makers. Each time something like this happens it creates concerns that we never hear the truth in a timely manner from our legislators and this has to stop. We don’t know about you, but we are tired of all of the excuses made for the ineptness of our elected officials. We vote for our representatives on their resume, but it seems that many of these resumes may be less than factual. When you go to the polls in 2016, please go as an informed citizen and think about how your legislators voted for you in this last session. Go to the following web-site to find out the truth about their voting records.