I’ve completed my first week as Latah County Commissioner. I’ve had a lot of folks ask me how it is going, others that want to know what my schedule looks like now. Now that I have finally had a good night’s sleep, I figured it was time to share. Just the basics: Latah County Commissioners are 3/4 time employees with benefits. As a board, we decide upon a Chair, and we set our schedule. We meet on Mondays and Wednesdays in Room 2B at the courthouse or in the annex every week we are in town, but not on Federal Holidays. We all have outside commissions and committees. We each have an office across the hallway in the basement of the courthouse. And, we all have 2nd jobs.
So, what did we do this week?
I got sworn in on Monday along with all of the other newly elected officials. We ate cheese and crackers and vegetables. We decided to keep Tom as our chair for his institutional knowledge and his ability to run efficient meetings. We divided up committee assignments. I will be serving on the Behavioral Health Board which meets monthly in Lewiston. I will be on the Board of Community Guardians and be the commissioner liaison to the Compensation Committee, the Fair Board, and Parks and Recreation Board. I will be the county presence on the Moscow Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Partnership for Economic Prosperity. Being new, I got the lightest load of outside commitments.
On Wednesday, we decided on three indigent fund requests, approved a smattering of liquor licenses, looked at the plans for the McConnell Mansion re-roofing project, learned more about Opportunity Zone designations, and approved paying of the week’s bills. It was a light day, so I spent the rest of the day learning the computer and phone systems in my office and started going through binders and files that date back through the early 1990’s. I had building and grounds stop by and help me move my desk so I, rather than my computer screen, face the door and I watered the plants that Dick Walser left me. We also attended a regional breakfast and the Chamber of Commerce lunch.
On Tuesday and Thursday, I worked my other jobs but made sure I had time to get to the yoga class that just did not happen in the latter part of my campaign. On Friday, I met with a few folks whose departments I wanted to know more about, and went through yet more files. I still have one file drawer to go.
I learned very early on in my job as an itinerant physical therapist serving multiple school districts and buildings who the most important folks to get to know were. While it was imperiative that I have a good relationship with principals, teachers, and parents, they had little effect on my day to day work. If I wanted to find out answers to the who, what, where questions, the administrative assistant held all of those, and mostly in his/her head. If I needed a tool, or I needed a different desk for a kid, or a room rearranged, the custodial staff were my best friends. Working for the County is really no different. The BOCC clerk has been there longer than any commissioner, and if she doesn’t have an answer to my question, she knows who does. The building and grounds and IT staff have been key in helping me to settle in.
So, that was my first week. Busy, but not nearly as busy as the time frame of my life when I was working multiple jobs and raising two active kids. I have an office space in town where I can read, reset, and even relax a bit. I am going to like working for Latah County. But, I’m also glad that Monday is a federal holiday!