How does someone representing 4.7% of the county end up proposing something for the entire county (with 14.3% of the voting power)? To examine that, we’ll look at the County Board of Health. But, if you’re more interested in what Mr. Seifert had to say about giving businesses A/B/C/D ratings, watch the video or read about the meeting!
Is the Lincoln County Board of Health a fair representation of Lincoln County? Are some sections of the county better represented than others? Under-representation has been a common complaint, and with Board Member Jim Seifert of Troy proposing county wide grading of businesses, it’s worth looking at.
Mr. Seifert is the Board Member appointed to represent Troy. In 2010 (alas, no 2020 census data yet) the area he represents had a population of 938. That’s 4.7% of the 19,980 people living in Lincoln County.
If representation on the County Board of Health were distributed evenly, by population, we would expect Mr. Seifert to have 4.7% of the vote. However, as one of a seven member board, he has 14.3% of the vote.
Looking at the Health Board as a whole (using the information available on the county website) we see:
|Area||% of County Population||Members on Board of Health||% of Vote on Board of Health|
|Troy||4.7%||1 ( Jim Seifert)||14.3 %|
|Eureka||5.2%||1 (Debra Armstrong)||14.3 %|
|Libby||13.2%||4 (Jan Ivers, Laura Crismore, Sara Mertes, George Jamison)||57.1 %|
|Elsewhere||76.9 %||Josh Letcher (West Kootenai)||14.3 %|
The Board of Health doesn’t represent the population of Lincoln County evenly. Far more of the vote is associated with “urban” areas than rural.
The Board of Health, with three members designated to represent the urban areas, is designed to unequal in representation. That’s 42.9 % of the votes on the Board of Health going to represent 23.1% of the population!
The remaining board members are one county commissioner and three appointed as county representatives. Could the board be more equal, with respect to the rural areas? Definitely.
But what about regions? Is North county represented fairly? Is it possible for the board to represent the county fairly? Could the board be designed so that it did? Next week!