As shortfall grows, McGeachin might be forced to forgo pay

Due to a growing office deficit, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin might have to work for free the rest of the budget year, Boise State Public Radio reported Friday.

Even if McGeachin halts all vendor payments, her office might run an end-of-year deficit exceeding $22,000, Chief Deputy Controller Joshua Whitworth said in a March 22 letter obtained by James Dawson of Boise State Public Radio.

Previously, the shortfall was projected at about $15,000 — a budget gap that prompted former chief of staff Jordan Watters to resign.

McGeachin, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is owed $18,642 in salary and benefits for the remainder of the budget year, which ends June 30.

The shortfall in McGeachin’s $188,700-a-year budget is the result of a public records dispute. McGeachin refused to fully release comments to her education task force, requested by Idaho Education News and other media outlets. The Idaho Press Club sued McGeachin and won, and McGeachin was ordered to pay the Press Club’s legal fees of close to $29,000.

McGeachin has blamed the media for her budget shortfall, saying news organizations could have paid fees of $500 or more for redacted comments.

“It’s the press that actually cost taxpayer dollars,” McGeachin said last month.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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