GBAD: More Division, More Rancor

by and

The new chair of the Greater Boise Auditorium District Board, Hy Kloc, opened today's meeting of the GBAD board with hope that the session would be less hostile than last week's meeting.

"We had a contentious start," said Kloc. "I hope we can get past that."

But within minutes, the board divided and stayed split through 90 minutes of rancor and 3-2 votes. Kloc, Mike Fitzgerald and Gail May voted for every motion and Stephanie Astorquia and Judy Peavey-Derr voted against.

To set the tone, the board spent the better part of a half-hour disagreeing on what items should or should not be on the agenda.

Fitzgerald said he wanted a change in legal counsel to the GBAD board, wanting to dump current counsel Wayne Meuleman of Meuleman Mollerup.

"He was way too deeply involved in policy making," said Fitzergerald. "And he bumped up their rate to $325 an hour. I think we should find someone who is less expensive and possibly more effective."

Voting 3-2, the board voted to replace Meuleman with Nick Miller of Hawley Troxell, asking Miller to help craft a new contract with the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. The GBAD board restored temporary funding to BCVB last week.

The board then—again by a 3-2 vote—asked Miller to provide a legal opinion on a 2008 Idaho Supreme Court ruling that said the Pocatello auditorium district could not spend hotel room taxes to promote a broad region. GBAD board members are divided on whether the ruling directly impacts Boise.

"I gather we're shopping for opinions with attorneys," said Peavey-Derr, disagreeing with the motion. "We already have opinions from the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and our previous legal counsel."

"I don't like where this is going," said Astorquia. "And I don't think it's an appropriate use of public funds."

But Astorquia and Peavey-Derr were, again, on the losing side of a vote.

The session ended the way it began: deeply divided.