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Piehl withdraws resignation

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | January 16, 2022 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT — While she doesn't plan to run for reelection, Bonner County Republican Central Committee chairman Scott Herndon said Treasurer Cheryl Piehl has withdrawn her resignation.

Cheryl Piehl, a Republican, had announced plans to retire in November 2021, with the retirement set to take effect Jan. 5.

However, Herndon said Piehl decided to rescind her resignation the day before the Bonner County Board of County Commissioners were scheduled to interview the central committee's three nominees — Grant Dorman, Jacob Farley and Spencer Hutchings.

"She was concerned that the nominees were not ready or as well prepared or committed to be county treasurer," Herndon said.

Herndon said Piehl's preferred choice was someone who works for the county, and who initially applied to be a nominee for the position. However, that person withdraw saying their family situation wasn't at the right point where they were comfortable moving forward with the process.

"Had I tried to talk that person into staying anyway, had that person been on our list, I think that would have been probably the commissioners' choice, and Cheryl would have been satisfied, but that person just wasn't ready to commit," Herndon added.

Herndon said his sense is that there is a possibility that, while they would have done a great job, some of those who applied may not have been "super committed" to being treasurer.

"I think Cheryl perceived that that may be the case with one or two of 'em," he added.

The goal now is to identify treasurer candidates interested in running in the Republican primary on May 17.

Herndon said the county treasurer serves as one of six executive branch elected officials on the county level. Among their responsibilities are signing the checks, receiving deposits, billing for taxes for the different taxing districts and then dispersing those funds to those entities.

"So you could just generally think of them as the county's banker," he said.

The position also has the added responsibility of acting as the administrator for estates of those who die without heirs or listing someone to manage their estate when they pass. The position has a lot of responsibility and requires that someone knows everything from banking to tax collections, Herndon said.

"A great treasurer is also someone who understands that they don't just sign off on everything the commissioners want to do," he added.

Rather than being an employee of the county, Herndon said the position serves as a check and balance to protect the county's residents.

"So that, for example, if the commissioners want to do something that maybe isn't very wise, one of the advantages of having a treasurer who understands their role in the checks and balances of our government, they can advise the commissioners, 'Hey, this isn't such a great way to spend the money or we shouldn't accept those funds and use it for these purposes,'" Herndon said.

As one of the six "executive branch" positions, Herndon said the office is meant to be an important check and balance to the county commissioners.

"Collectively, we say that government, by collaboration is better than government by one person," he aded. "So that they're an important part of that collaborative effort that makes county governments better in the end."