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Eye On Boise

Balukoff: Analysis of Otter’s schedule shows he’s a ‘part-time governor’

A.J. Balukoff, the Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, has analyzed a year’s worth of incumbent GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s detailed calendars, and concluded that Otter is a “part-time governor,” working only 27 hours a week in 2013, or 32.8 if receptions and travel time are added in. “Gov. Otter treats his job like he’s in semi-retirement,” Balukoff said in a statement today. “Many Idahoans are working 50 or 60 or more hours a week in two or three jobs and still barely scraping by. Idaho needs and deserves a governor who’s on the job more than part-time.”

In January of 2011, then-Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey did a similar analysis, comparing Otter’s schedule for 2011 to 2009, before he was re-elected for his second term. He found that in 2011, Otter largely took Mondays off; took 41 personal days, a 28 percent increase over two years earlier; and his official appointments were down 21 percent and unofficial appointments down 64 percent.

Otter had no comment on the report then; in a statement today, his campaign said, "Being governor is not a typical 8 to 5 occupation. Gov. Otter is governor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Mr Balukoff probably doesn't realize that the job of governor is a 24-hour calling." You can see Balukoff’s full analysis here, and his full statement here; click below for the Otter campaign's full statement.

Otter campaign statement:

“Understandably, Mr. Balukoff is looking at the Governor’s schedule like a simple balance sheet. What Mr. Balukoff doesn’t understand, and frankly will never understand, is that being Governor is not a typical 8 to 5 occupation. Governor Otter is governor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Mr. Balukoff probably doesn’t realize that the job of Governor is a 24 hour calling, that doesn’t end on the weekends or after hours or even when you are with your family during the holidays. For example, the Governor has always kept a ‘24 hour rule’ for legislators who need or want to meet with him. We challenge A.J. to find any individual legislator who hasn’t had that courtesy. Like the other allegations that Mr. Balukoff’s campaign has dredged up from old ‘news stories’ from the past, this accusation is almost three years old and was thoroughly and exhaustively researched, analyzed and published by the Idaho Statesman in January of 2012. The Balukoff campaign efforts to retread this ‘story’ in the waning hours of his campaign is the mark of a candidate who knows he is on the verge of losing.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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