POCATELLO, Idaho - Bridges were mended on Wednesday afternoon after the Bannock County Prosecutor's Office issued a public apology to the Fair Board during the Commissioner's meeting.
Chief Civil Deputy Ian Service read aloud his written statement:
"The Bannock County Prosecutor, through Ian N. Service, Civil Legal Counsel issues the following press release and apology to the appointed members of the Bannock County Fair Board members, past and present. All members of the Fair Board have given countless hours of service for the best interest of the County and its fair properties, some for many years."
He goes on to state:
"In hindsight, the request to suspend the Fair Board members did unfairly cast them in a negative and very public light. This prejudicial and unintended consequence toward the voluntary fair board members and chairman was not the intention for suspending the Fair Board."
Service, along with Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Herzog, first noticed a discrepancy in the board's accounting records asked the commissioners to temporarily suspend the board in April while they perform an inquiry into the board's activities,expenditures, and Idaho laws distinguishing the board's actual governing powers.
"It fell under Herzog and I as new prosecutors in the county, and we said, 'hey, wait a minute, that's not exact to Idaho code," Service said. "But, in hindsight, instead of asking to suspend them and casting a shadow of criminality or doubt, we probably could have done a different route with 'kid gloves.' I mean, we used a 16 pound sledge when we could have used a ballpoint pen."
Service said, in an effort to expedite the auditing process, they held what is constituted as an 'emergency meeting' to discuss this matter with the board. But, under Idaho code, Service said they were required to notify the media whenever an emergency meeting is called, which then sparked an avalanche of a problem much worse than what it was.
Fair Board chairman Dale Almond addressed the room saying, "This probably has been one of the most difficult times of public service that I have had, serving Bannock County for over 35 years."
Both Almond and Service agreed to put this issue behind them and to move forward.
Almond said they will continue planning the two Bannock County fairs coming up this month.
"We are ready to move forward for the two of the best fairs you can have this year in Bannock County," Almond said. "Our hearts are invested in this community as volunteer servers and we won't let anything else get in our way."
The south fair will start on August fourth and will run until the ninth. The north fair will start on Aug. 11 and will wrap-up on the sixteenth of the same month.
Attached is a copy of the audit findings.