Councilman Dan Gookin sent the following letter to City Administrator Wendy Gabriel complaining about a letter to the editor of the Coeur d'Alene Press from Eden Irgens, who chairs the city's Art Commission: "A citizen has pointed out a concern to me. I understand that there's a lot of political B.S. floating around out there, but Mr. Irgens has written a letter to the Editor, published in today's CDA Press, wherein she states, "I personally cannot trust [Councilman Gookin] now." I've learned that Ms. Irgens is chair of the City's Arts Commission. I find it disturbing that the City would allow or tolerate a committee member, let alone a committee chair, to publicly criticize a councilman in that way. In know that Ms. Irgens has every right to criticize me as an elected official, and I would encourage anyone to express their rights to criticize the government. But this situation presents an incongruity I'd like to address. More below.
DFO: Eden Irgens is a woman, BTW.
Question: Should a member of a Coeur d'Alene city committee be prevented from writing letters to a newspaper or speaking openly re: opposition to a City Council member?
If the Mayor is upset with Councilman Edinger referring to the council as "ridiculous," and making other accusations in public, how is it possible for the City to give a committee chair a pass? I must ask you if you would be okay with this situation if the opposite be true: If Ms. Irgens were active in the recall effort, would she still be a City committee chair if she came out with a letter to the editor, published in the paper, wherein she openly called for the recall of Mayor Bloem, Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Goodlander, and Mr.
The City must be consistent on this issue. I have chosen to be publicly neutral on the recall. While I do not believe we have the authority to dictate that position to our volunteers, I also believe it reflects badly on the City to have someone in a prominent volunteer position publicly criticize a Council member. It opens a legitimate question as to whether Mrs. Irgens will no longer trust policies or decisions made by Council and it most certainly demonstrates a level of disrespect and contempt that I do not believe is befitting a city volunteer.
Thank you for your time.