A story in the Jan. 3 edition of the Ravalli Republic discussed the county commissioners near-unanimous vote (one member was MIA) to not reappoint Mr. Jan Wisniewski to the chair position on the county planning board. “Mr. Wiiski,” as some folks in the Darby area affectionately call Jan, got in trouble at a planning board meeting with Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe (CSKT) members, by repeating a statement out loud that some Havre officials supposedly said about local jails being filled with “drunk Indians.”
Our esteemed commissioners later apologized to CSKT officials for the senseless faux pas committed by the beloved former planning board chair. I guess this would be similar to a few Blackfeet Nation elders joking about inebriated white folk of Eastern European descent incarcerated in the Darby Detention Facility.
The missing voter was key commissioner Suzy Foss, who conveniently slipped out of the room before the planning board discussion commenced. Some of my cynical North Valley neighbors suggested that because Ms. Foss and “Mr. Ski” are buddies, she didn’t want to go on record as having voted against him.
While possible, I believe the real reason Suzy left the proceedings was to visit the records room down the hall in order to thoroughly review the qualifications of John Ormiston, who was being considered for reappointment to the park board. Mr. Ormiston is a retired Forest Service Wildlife Biologist and past president of the Bitterroot Audubon Society. John is the most experienced park board member, according to commissioner J.R. Iman, and he was instrumental in getting a number of projects completed.
Oh, by the way, Mr. Ormiston ran as a Democrat for one of the county commissioner positions in the last election. After an exhaustive analysis, Ms. Foss was able to show up in time to vote against his reappointment to the park board. Perhaps she had one of her failed county treasurer candidates lined up for that post. Oh well, there’s always the weed board.