Engelhardt appointed Bonner County assessor

BOCC Chairman Bradshaw calls BCRCC nomination process ‘a finger into the air’ to taxpayers

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Dennis Engelhardt became the new Bonner County assessor in a swearing in ceremony June 5. He replaces Grant Dorman, who announced in early May that he would resign only five months into his first term due to health concerns. 

Dennis Englehardt.
Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

The Bonner County Republican Central Committee accepted applications to fill the role and nominated three candidates to send to the Bonner County commissioners for a final vote, per Idaho Code, since Dorman ran and won as a Republican in 2022.

Engelhardt is a retired sheriff’s captain and U.S. marine who ran unsuccessfully for assessor in 2018. The commissioners confirmed his appointment with a 2-1 vote on June 1, choosing him over fellow BCRCC nominees Thomas Brown and Dan Rose.

Engelhardt, Brown and Rose all interviewed for the assessor seat during a public meeting May 30, during which attendees — including elected officials and Assessor’s Office staff members — repeatedly pointed out that the candidates lacked any experience with appraisal. That became a sticking point for many observers who criticized the BCRCC for passing over a handful of other applicants more familiar with the job, including three employees of the Bonner County Assessor’s Office and Hal Carter of Carter Appraisals.

“Not taking anything away from the candidates, but I think the Bonner County Republican Central Committee did the entire county a disservice,” said BOCC Chairman Steve Bradshaw during the June 1 board deliberations, later adding: “It was definitely an intentional slam to the board of commissioners, but in doing so it was also a finger into the air [to] every tax-paying citizen in Bonner County.”

BCRCC Chairman Scott Herndon, who also serves as District 1 Idaho senator, detailed his committee’s process during the June 1 meeting, and assured the commissioners that, regarding the eight assessor applicants initially considered: “We took them very seriously — I certainly did.”

“We ultimately leaned on what we perceived to be the leadership experience of the candidates that we did put on the nomination list for you — their background, their experience, their maturity,” Herndon told county commissioners.

Also during the open comment portion of the June 1 deliberations, Dorman encouraged his staff to “be brave” and “speak freely” about their preference for his replacement. Seven staff members spoke, expressing mixed support for both Engelhardt and Brown.

Commissioners Luke Omodt and Bradshaw ultimately voted to appoint Engelhardt as the new Bonner County assessor, while Commissioner Asia Williams voted against, stating she preferred Brown for the position based on endorsements from both current Assessor’s Office personnel and her District 2 constituents.

Engelhardt assumed the role June 5, but will need to run for election in 2024 to maintain office.

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