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Roetter retains committeeman post

by Tom Hasslinger
| November 24, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - A Kootenai County Republican Central Committeeman was allowed to keep his position on the board following a vote Tuesday evening.

Matt Roetter was facing dismissal from his position as an officer of the KCRCC's executive board for his public refusal to support Phil Hart as a Republican candidate amid the Athol legislator's tax and timber controversies.

The committee conducted the vote during its monthly meeting in executive session, closed to the public. Roetter retained his seat after 55 votes, including proxy votes, were cast.

"There is a clear division at this level in the Republican body," Roetter told The Press afterward. "That's what this vote was about."

Roetter said he was happy to retain his position. The split of the vote count wasn't disclosed as the board voted to keep it private. Roetter added that he still didn't support Hart, who won re-election in November.

"What saddens me is this whole vote was about Phil Hart," he said, attributing the division in the party as a split between Republicans and Constitutional party supporters. "I didn't support him and they wanted to get rid of me."

Roetter publicly refused to support Hart after the May 25 primary election because Hart refused to pay income tax for several years and has hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens imposed by the federal government on his property. Roetter called him a "timber thief," alluding to timber on state land which Hart used without paying for several years ago. Hart has since paid for the timber.

KCRCC member Neil Oliver called for executive session leading up to the vote. Executive session can be used when committees deal with internal personnel issues. Around 25 members of the public then waited in the halls outside the room in the Kootenai County Administration Building while the committee took up the matter.

"This is not how you treat your people," Rep. Frank Henderson said in the hallway.

After the vote, the pubic was called back in and the meeting resumed on other matters. Roetter then talked to The Press.

Roetter is not a committeeman chosen by the voters, but a state committeeman chosen by the committee, and therefore could be subject to dismissal for not supporting candidates.

The issue had been at the forefront of the committee for a couple of months, but was delayed last month so the committee could focus on the November election.

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