Friday, December 08, 2023

Marshall weighs in on clerk, fair board dispute

Staff Writer | October 24, 2023 1:00 AM

An Oct. 8 Bonner County Fair Board press release on how the board said it should be directed by the county has prompted Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall to share how he is managing the situation.

The fair board’s press release claimed that while the Bonner County commissioners are required to perform yearly audits on the fair board, they have not been doing so based on “the unlawful instructions” of County Clerk Mike Rosedale.

“Rosedale has made recent statements to the media denying that the internal and external auditors have oversight and audit responsibilities to the [fair board],” the press release said.

The fair board claimed Rosedale is attempting to shift the blame for the county’s “shortcomings” regarding the alleged misuse of fair board funds by publicly blaming the fair board instead of taking responsibility.

“Rosedale’s neglect in supervising [the fair board’s] finances directly enabled the fiscal year 2022 fraud,” the press releases alleges.

However, it is still unclear to many as to whether the county actually has an obligation to audit the fair board.

“I am presently evaluating whether I believe the Board of Commissioners has a duty to have an audit performed [on the fair board] either as a part of the county, or as a component unit of the county,” Marshall said.

His first objective for evaluating the fair board is an investigation into the alleged misuse of the fair funds — which he said is already complete.

“I have no question as to the integrity of the investigation and the integrity of the person who did it,” he said. “I instructed the investigator and members of the fair board to be overly conservative, to only consider the expenditures that were blatantly unauthorized and not for the use of the fair.”

Currently, Marshall said he and staff are working to wade through the statutes — or frankly, the lack thereof, he said — to define what respective roles the commissioners and the fair board each play in regards to the other. The county prosecutor said that just like in many other counties in Idaho, the lines in Bonner County have been blurred as to the roles and duties each department plays.

“We are trying to provide good counsel to assist both the fair [board and commissioners] as to where the fair has autonomy from the commissioners and where it does not,” Marshall said.

Marshall’s last objective is to put financial safeguards in place around the county to prevent the potential misuse of funds in the future.

“I realize tensions are high,” the prosecutor said. “But I’m sure if the elected officials and fair board members work together, these issues can be solved.”

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