Posts tagged: Bob Geddes
Former Idaho state Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes has gotten high marks since he took over as head of the Idaho State Tax Commission, but AP reporter John Miller reports that after a year, Geddes is looking to move on. Click below for his full report.
When new state Tax Commission Chairman Bob Geddes was appointed, he was in Boise serving as a ninth-term state senator; two years earlier, he'd sold his house in Soda Springs and bought a home in Meridian, but he was still renting a home in Soda Springs. Under state policies, Geddes was entitled to reimbursement for his moving expenses for the job, including one-way transport of two vehicles.
But since he was in Boise, he had to go back to Soda Springs in eastern Idaho each time he packed up and moved household items from there to Boise; as a result, the $1,861.66 in moving expenses he submitted violated the state's rules for two reasons: It included trips that weren't from the old to the new location (because they were round trips from Boise), and Geddes wanted to bill the state for another trip this spring to pick up and trailer back his antique car, a 1930 Model A Ford. The other vehicle he moved was his pickup; that's not counting his car, in which he and his wife drove to Soda Springs twice for the move and she drove back each time while he drove a rented U-Haul van one time and the pickup the other time.
Variances from the state's moving-expense policy for top workers can be approved by the state Board of Examiners; in submissions to the board, Geddes noted that he made his move affordable by packing and moving himself in a U-Haul, and said, “The timeliness of this move allowed me to save at least two months of home rental payments in Soda Springs.” The appointment came up unexpectedly in the midst of the legislative session, he said.
“I know that this entire process seems like the old riddle of how to get a goat, fox, chicken and a rattle snake across the river in a canoe by making the least number of crossings and with nobody being eaten,” Geddes wrote. “My riddle was to go to Soda Springs, rent a moving van, move household belonging to Boise and two vehicles in the least number of trips. I believe I solved the riddle in the most cost-effective manner for the state of Idaho.” However, a subcommittee of the Board of Examiners determined that the antique car didn't qualify for a $526.20 moving expense reimbursement, “because it is for the move of a non-household item.”
So Geddes submitted a revised request, and today, the Board of Examiners voted unanimously to approve reimbursement for the extra trip legs between Boise and Soda Springs, for a total of $436.80. That means Geddes' total state-reimbursed moving expenses came to $1,335.46, since the antique-car portion was removed. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who serves on the board, said, “There are some extenuating circumstances that justify the expenses,” including the “very short time frame” Geddes was given to switch jobs while required by his previous post to be in Boise for the legislative session. “So there is good justification for the exception from the standard policy.” Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who also serves on the board, noted the exclusion of the other $526.20. “I think we've made the frugal choice and the wise choice on these exceptions,” he said.
Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill said of Sen. Bob Geddes, the new chairman of the Idaho State Tax Commission, “He has truly been a statesman. He has been a resource for each of us. … One of the important institutions, the institution that collects our taxes, has had its integrity tarnished, and I can think of no better person, no one who's more respected by all people in this state … whether Republican or Democrat or anything else. … Even though we're going to miss him a great deal in the Idaho state Senate, he's going to provide some very important services to the citizens of the state, and I wish him all the best.”
Geddes said he's starting his new job as a tax commissioner today. “We want to make sure that as people come before the Tax Commission, that they are treated with respect, that they are treated fairly. … My job is going to be to make sure that that tax policy is implemented as all of us as citizens of the state would want it to be.”
“He has my total confidence and my appreciation,” Gov. Butch Otter said of Sen. Bob Geddes, his choice to be the next chairman of the state Tax Commission. “Bob has great respect in the Legislature, I think he has great respect all over Idaho. I have found that wherever I go, and a high level of confidence that not only comes from both sides of the rotunda but both sides of the aisle.”
Otter said, “Collecting taxes from people is one of the most important jobs and one of the most sensitive jobs we have in the state. People understand their responsibility in paying taxes, but they want to make sure it's fair, that it's equitable, and that it's done with respect.”
Geddes said, “I have accepted this position - I will do my very best.” He said he'll be retiring from his longtime position at Monsanto Corp.
Otter said possible reform of the Tax Commission still is under consideration. “I believe having Bob there will be very helpful in directing those issues or those questions or those ideas for change with the legislators,” Otter said. Geddes said, “I don't really have any preconceived notion of what really needs to be done at the Tax Commission at this point.” He said, “Certainly there is always room for improvements.”
Otter's previous Tax Commission chairman, Royce Chigbrow, who also was his longtime campaign treasurer, resigned a week and a half ago after allegations that he used his position to help a friend in a business dispute and to aid clients of his son's accounting firm.
Disaster emergencies have been declared by the governor today for three Idaho counties - Adams, Idaho and Valley - due to flooding. But those declarations weren’t signed by Gov. Butch Otter; he’s on a trade mission to China. And they weren’t signed by Lt. Gov. Brad Little - he’s in New York with state Treasurer Ron Crane, on Crane’s annual trip to negotiate the state’s bond ratings.
Today’s acting governor is Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, who’s been filling that role since Sunday and will continue until mid-day tomorrow when Little returns.
In addition to signing the disaster declarations, Geddes presided today over a special meeting of the state Board of Examiners.
Geddes said he figures he’s served as acting governor 30 or 40 times in the last 10 years. If he’s not in the state, the role falls to the Speaker of the House. Said Geddes, “You can do about anything you want as acting governor, but you’d better not do too much.”