Bousman elected chairman of Sublette Commission
Sublette Commissioners meeting
County surveyor Paul Scherbel (far left) sits at one side of the table, near County Clerk Mary Lankford and Commissioners (from left to right) John Linn, Andy Nelson and Joel Bousman during Thursday morning's meeting. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 6, 2011
The Sublette County Commissionís first meeting of 2011 began with a rocky start Thursday, January 6, 2011, with commissioners electing Joel Bousman as chairman despite John Linnís objection.
The meeting began calmly enough, with Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford calling the meeting to order, leading the room in the Pledge of Allegiance, and introducing the newly sworn-in commission members to the room at large. But the first official action the commission had to take was election of its chairman.
Lankford asked for a motion of nomination for the chairmanship. Newly elected Commissioner Andy Nelson made a motion to elect Joel Bousman to that position, which Bousman seconded. Commissioner Linn objected, stating, "Iím getting railroaded here. This is wrong. Ö I resent this motion."
Linnís objection came before the motion was voted on, because a successful motion would have resulted in Bousman taking over the chairmanship, without Linn given consideration for the same slot.
Linn explained that he has served on the commission for six years, serving as vice chairman for four of those years.
"I feel I am qualified and prepared," Linn said. "I resent this corner Iíve been backed into."
Linn said that Bousman had admitted to prearranging the action prior to the meeting. Nelson addressed the prearrangement allegation. Nelson said that prior to the meeting, both Bousman and Linn had approached him seeking support for the chairmanship, but he hadnít in fact made up his mind about who to nominate until the morning of the meeting itself.
Linn continued to object, taking issue with using a motion to seek nomination.
"The process here is wrong," Linn said.
"Iím over it," he said. "Iím way over it. This is one hell of a way to start things."
Bousman also addressed the allegation of prearrangement, noting that he had pledged to Nelson that whatever decision and motion Nelson made about the chairmanship in the meeting, Bousman would second.
Bousman asked if Linn was seeking to have more names considered for the nomination, to which Linn replied in the affirmative. Lankford said such an action could be taken if the commissioners would withdraw the motion and second, and start over. Nelson and Bousman then withdrew their motion. Linn suggested that Lankford simply do a "call for nominations," which she did, instructing the commissioners that their vote would be taken publicly, not privately.
Linn then nominated himself, and Nelson once again nominated Bousman.
Nelson explained he had seen Bousman in leadership roles with several organizations, and said, "I believe heís a great parliamentarian."
Linn voted for himself, but the other two commissioners voted for Bousman, netting Bousman the chairmanís seat.
Nelson then nominated Linn for the vice chairman position, but Linn declined.
Nelson asked, "Can we put our differences aside for the betterment of the county?"
Linn said he felt the vice chairmanship was a title, and nominated Nelson for the seat. With just the Nelson nomination on the table, Nelson was elected vice-chair, despite his "no" vote on the matter.
After the initial conflict over the election of officers, the commission then knuckled down and got to business. Linn did make a few other policy suggestions and position statements during the first hours of the meeting Thursday. Linn noted that he does not want to discuss agenda items or approve anything via email prior to meetings.
"Itís the wrong way to do business," he said.
Linn was rankled with change orders for road projects that came before the commission for approval after the work had been completed, not before. He said the commission should quit approving change orders when they take place after the fact. Bousman cautioned road project supervisors to bring the change orders before the commission prior to the work being done if at all possible.
The commission proceeded to discuss various county road and Class II road projects before meeting with newly elected Sheriff Dave Lankford, and a full day of other agenda items.