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Idaho commissioners ratify Raúl Labrador appointment to the Boise-area board of health

Raul Labrador
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 19:54:36-05

This article was originally published by Ruth Brown in the Idaho Statesman.

Central District Health announced Tuesday that it received returned ballots with enough votes to ratify the appointment of former gubernatorial candidate Raúl Labrador to the CDH Board of Health.

Labrador’s seat was previously held by Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, but Lachiondo, a Democrat, lost her seat in November to Republican Ryan Davidson.

Because Labrador, a former Idaho congressman, does not currently hold elected office, the commissioners from CDH’s four counties — Ada, Boise, Valley and Elmore — had to ratify the appointment.

Seven votes approving the appointment were required among the 12 total county commissioners, and Labrador received nine. Any Board of Health vacancy appointments are made at the county level, not by the Board of Health itself.

When a Board of Health vacancy occurs because a member loses a county commission election, the respective county board of commissioners, in this case Ada County, can opt to appoint one of the elected commissioners or appoint a person from outside, according to a CDH press release. The appointment must be confirmed through a vote of all county commissioners among the counties in the health district.

CDH reported the following votes on Labrador:

  • Ada County: 2 approve, 1 disapprove
  • Boise County: 3 approve
  • Elmore County: 1 approve, 2 disapprove
  • Valley County: 3 approve

“Mr. Labrador will serve a Board of Health term through 2025 and will join two other Board of Health representatives from Ada County, Dr. Ted Epperly and Dr. Jane Young,” according to the press release. “The seven-member CDH Board of Health also includes two representatives from Elmore County, Rep. Megan Blanksma and retired registered nurse and current Board Chairwoman Betty Ann Nettleton. Boise and Valley Counties each have one representative serving on the board, Commissioner Ryan Stirm and Commissioner Elt Hasbrouck, respectively.”

CONTROVERSY AROUND THE APPOINTMENT

Davidson and newly elected Ada County Commission Chair Rod Beck made the decision that they wanted to appoint Labrador, a former U.S. congressman and former state GOP chair. Ada County Commissioner Kendra Kenyon, a Democrat and the only holdover from last year, previously said she thought Davidson and Beck were rushing and had concern that the decision to appoint Labrador was made outside of a public forum.

The commission was accused of violating Idaho’s open meeting law after it appeared the decision had been made before the commission meeting by Davidson and Beck. Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor is acting as a special prosecutor to review whether any laws have been violated.

Labrador will receive an orientation and overview of CDH from Director Russ Duke and his first Board of Health meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 19. Meetings are streamed live on CDH’s YouTube channel.