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Guerber Takes A Powder

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Some time later this week, expect to hear word of the long-awaited results of the Idaho State Controller's Office audit of the Idaho Historical Society's director, Steve Guerber.

Guerber announced he was resigning, effective immediately, last Friday. The decision, he told BW, "was mine, and mine alone."

"It wasn't fair to the agency to have that kind of distraction," he said.

Guerber has been under scrutiny ever since a random analysis of 10 of his travel expense reports found trouble with every one. That first audit, which found $700 worth of erroneous charges, was done by the Legislative Audits office. Shortly afterward, the Idaho Historical Society's board of trustees chose to turn all of Guerber's reports over to the controller's office for a good long look. That was in September.

"We're just finalizing the last bit of it," said Garry Lough, the deputy chief of staff for the State Controller's Office. "It took us a little longer than we thought." Lough said he expects results within a week.

The expense reports do show some redundant charges, which Guerber has called honest mistakes. Analysis by KBCI Channel 2 has showed that Guerber had claimed travel to Sun Valley both as an Eagle City Councilor and as Historical Director.

Trustees didn't wait long to name a replacement; on Monday they announced that Keith Peterson, who has been the coordinator of the Idaho Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration since 1999, would become the new interim director.

For his part, Guerber is looking forward to the final audit report like anyone else.

"I don't think the investigation will find me guilty of anything," Guerber said. "If you look at anybody's paperwork over a period of time, you'll find there's mistakes that have been made."

The investigation, he said, has been "fair and appropriate." He's been looking for other jobs, and said several opportunities have emerged.

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