(UPDATED, 12:30 p.m., with comments from Rep. Wendy Horman.)
Tim Corder — the former state senator who had been state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s point person on legislative topics — has left Ybarra’s staff.
Melissa Davlin of Idaho Reports first reported on Corder’s departure Wednesday morning.
Ybarra spokesman Jeff Church confirmed Corder’s departure Wednesday morning.
“It is a personnel matter, and I won’t be commenting on his departure,” Church said in an email. “At this point, no further decisions have been made.”
In other words, it’s unclear whether Ybarra will hire a new liaison to work on legislative matters — or who will handle those responsibilities during the remaining weeks of the 2016 session.
Corder’s departure comes just as the Legislature is just getting down to details on the 2016-17 K-12 budget. Some lawmakers are already questioning Ybarra’s centerpiece legislative priority — a $300,000 request to create rural schools centers to provide a menu of services to small-town schools. The $300,000 request does not appear in Gov. Butch Otter’s K-12 budget request, which means Ybarra needs to convince legislators to find the money.
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“I need details about some of their proposals,” said Rep. Wendy Horman, an Idaho Falls Republican and one of Ybarra’s earliest political supporters. “I think we continue to work with the department, regardless of who’s doing the work.”
Horman, a member of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, is expected to assume a key role in writing the committee’s budget for K-12. After Wednesday’s House floor session, Horman told Idaho Education News that she was on her way to a meeting with State Department of Education officials — to learn more about the department’s budget requests, and to try to find out who will handle legislative duties in Corder’s absence.
Corder was a bit vague about the timing of his departure, telling Davlin that it was both abrupt and planned. Departing in the middle of a legislative session was not necessarily part of the plan. “I think it’s just the way it worked out,” Corder told Davlin.
Corder, of Mountain Home, joined Ybarra’s campaign in the fall of 2014. After her election, Corder was brought on to work as Ybarra’s legislative liaison.
During the past two legislative sessions, Corder frequently testified on Ybarra’s behalf in House and Senate committees.
Corder had earned a salary of $108,139.