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Central District Health admits improper meeting led to stage 3 order, tries again

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COVID-19 Idaho

Central District Health Department declared its earlier public health order void, and voted to again instate it during an emergency meeting Friday. The move came after BoiseDev asked questions about the agency’s approach to a meeting held last weekend.

Here’s what happened:

  • Central District Health held an emergency meeting Saturday, June 20th via teleconfrence. The meeting was not posted to its website providing notice to the public. The agency later posted it to the website after the fact sometime Thursday, June 25th or early Friday June 26th — nearly a week after the meeting took place.

  • Idaho law allows for an emergency meeting without the normal notice if a situation “involving injury or damage to persons or property, or immediate financial loss, or the likelihood of such injury, damage or loss” takes place.
    • However, Idaho State Code requires that agencies notify the media of the emergency meeting. Central District Health did not inform BoiseDev, even though we are on their media list.

  • On Sunday June 21st, BoiseDev heard of the meeting from a source and asked questions about it to a number of officials local via email, including CDH’s spokesperson and Diana Lachiondo who sits on the CDH Board of Health. The spokesperson never replied, and Lachiondo did not reply until after a news conference was held Monday afternoon.
    • We had hoped to speed information to the public and impacted business owners about a decision made by a public entity without prior public notice.

  • BoiseDev asked the agency via email early this afternoon why the meeting was not given public notice, why our questions were not answered, what was discussed in the meeting and if any votes were taken.
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  • The agency’s spokesperson, Christine Myron, did not answer our questions. Instead, she noted that a new emergency meeting would be held Friday afternoon at 4pm.

  • During the latest meeting today, the agency admitted its earlier public health order, which moved Ada County into stage three with additional modifications to close bars, was invalid due to the open meeting violation.

  • Dr. Ted Epperly, who sits on the board, then made the following motion: “As the open meeting law was not fully complied with as it was on a Saturday and it was not posted as noted, I move that the earlier public health order be invalidated.”

  • A member of the public attempted to interject into the meeting, held by phone, but a board member said they were not taking public comment.

  • The board then voted unanimously to reinstate the new public health order.

In effect, the order was invalid due to the emergency meeting without any public notice from Wednesday when it went into effect until the new order was made Friday afternoon.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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