The recent lawsuit that challenged the City of Coeur d’Alene November 2009 election is at the forefront of the race for Kootenai County clerk.
Jim Brannon sued the city, county and incumbent Councilman Mike Kennedy after losing the race by five votes. The suit against the county was subsequently dropped, but the county’s contractual operation of the election was a focus of the six-day trial. The Elections Office is one of five county departments overseen by the clerk, who also supervises the District Court, auditor, recorder and county assistance.
Though a judge ruled in favor of the city and Kennedy, Republican challenger Cliff Hayes said the lawsuit revealed that the law was not followed during the course of the election, and he would restore trust. He said after that 22 years as police chief, and two years as interim Post Falls city administrator, he has the background and training.
English, however, said that the law absolutely was followed and the verdict proved that. He said the lawsuit did reveal things that can be improved when following complex state and federal election laws. He said his office takes advantage every year of state training in elections procedures that are regularly updated. English said, however, that running the Elections Office is just one part of the multifaceted job he has held for 15 years.
The four-year position pays $68,958 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Dan English , 59
Bio: County clerk; master’s degree in counseling psychology, Gonzaga University, 1981; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration, San Jose State University, 1974; Idaho POST Academy (Peace Officer Standards and Training), 1974; previously served on Coeur d’Alene School Board and City Council, founder and former executive director, North Idaho Youth for Christ and Anchor House/Idaho Youth Ranch Boys Home; past president of Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks. Married, three children, six grandchildren.
Goals for term: Install software in the Recorder’s Office that will allow all county public documents to eventually be posted online. Transition the Elections Office to conduct elections for every county taxing district, beginning in 2011, as dictated by state law. Find creative, money-saving solutions in the county assistance department, which provides help to the indigent.
Notable: English is immediate past chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a 110-member National Standards Board.
• Cliff Hayes , 59
Bio: Retired police chief of Post Falls, Idaho POST Academy, 1985; two years, Long Beach (Calif.) City College, no degree; FBI National Academy, 1997; buyer for Kroger Co., buying for the Market Basket supermarket chain, seven years; acting city administrator of Post Falls three separate times for more than two years total, member of Post Falls Community Volunteers, American Legion, Post Falls Historical Society and Officers without Law Enforcement Status. Married, five children, two grandchildren.
Goals for term: Follow the law. Train elections workers in the law. Review voter records to ensure voters register at their home and not their business. Create a website that shows every check the county writes, what it’s for, and who spent it.
Notable: Hayes said he would serve only one term if elected.