ACHD Signs Off On Golden Parachute Contract For Director

Nov 19, 2020

The director of the Ada County Highway District is getting a bit of extra job security just as its board of commissioners is set for a potential shakeup.

ACHD commissioners narrowly approved a new contract Wednesday for its director, Bruce Wong, by a 3-2 vote. The three-year deal sets his annual salary at about $165,000, but it also includes a provision that would give him a year’s pay, plus benefits, if the new board decides to hire someone else during that period.

The severance pay would be void if Wong were to be fired for cause.

Commissioner Mary May said the contract is “simply taking care of business.”

“I think we are introducing a reason of stability and continuity that is necessary during these difficult times,” May said.

But Commissioner Jim Hansen, one of the two dissenting votes, said it’s a matter of not tying the hands of future officials, even though he thinks Wong has done a good job.

“I think it’s critically important that each commission as they come into office have the power to evaluate and to determine the direction of the agency,” Hansen said.

The other no vote, Commissioner Kent Goldthorpe, said he felt similarly and also emphasized that Wong’s job performance isn’t in question.

The five-member ACHD board is getting at least one new member in Dave McKinney come January. Alexis Pickering also beat longtime Commissioner Rebecca Arnold by just two votes, which could be subject to a recount.

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