Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guv appoints businessman to serve on county board

Jacob Greenberg to be sworn in Monday

Express Staff Writer

Jacob Greenberg

Hailey resident and Shorty’s Diner owner Jacob Greenberg will be sworn in Monday as Blaine County’s new county commissioner.

Greenberg was appointed by Gov. Butch Otter on Tuesday morning to fill the seat of resigning Commissioner Tom Bowman. Bowman officially resigned Oct. 5.

Greenberg said in a statement that he is “honored and humbled” to have been appointed Blaine County commissioner, and thanked both the governor and the community for supporting him in his bid for office.

Greenberg said in a Tuesday interview that he has been preparing extensively for this position and that the learning curve would not be steep. He said he’s spoken to Commissioners Angenie McCleary and Larry Schoen as well as other elected officials and “stakeholders” in the county’s ongoing skilled-nursing and airport discussions.

“I made it pretty clear in my speech to the precinct captains [in September] that I’m ready to make decisions the first day on the job,” he said. “I’m ready to step in and help them make decisions.”

McCleary said that despite Greenberg’s preparation, she does think he will have somewhat of a learning curve—but only because the issues dealt with by the commissioners are complex and varied.

“There’d be a learning curve for anyone,” she said. “He’s done an excellent job in a short period of time of trying to prepare himself for the position.”

Schoen said that he appreciates how hard Greenberg worked to “earn” the appointment.

“He certainly went about it diligently, and I look forward to working with him,” Schoen said. “Clearly, he impressed the governor enough to earn the appointment.”

Greenberg has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University at Northridge and attended Pepperdine University. He moved to Idaho 30 years ago.

Greenberg was named the third choice for county commissioner by the Blaine County Democrats in September after a public interview process to narrow the field of candidates. Preceding Greenberg were Trailing of the Sheep Executive Director Mary Austin Crofts and financial consultant Greg Travelstead.

Greenberg had the highest number of letters of community support of any of the candidates, acquiring 26 to Travelstead’s 17 and Crofts’ seven. He has also promised to represent the business community on the board, saying he is the logical choice to follow Bowman—another small-business owner turned county commissioner.

Greenberg said Tuesday that he thinks his experience as a business owner would impact how he performs as a county commissioner.

“I definitely think it’s going to have an impact on budgets and bringing opportunities to the business community,” he said, adding that he hopes to make decisions that would be helpful to business owners.

McCleary said she thinks Greenberg’s business experience would be helpful, especially during budget season, as government and businesses deal with many of the same issues in that regard, though Greenberg has dealt with those issues on a smaller scale.

Greenberg said he is looking forward to the board meeting Monday, when he will be sworn in and the commissioners will discuss proposals for skilled-nursing care in the county. He said he hasn’t come up with an opinion on the issue yet.

“I want to look at all of the information [first],” he said.

Kate Wutz:

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