One day after former Administration Department director Teresa Luna’s new state job became public knowledge, Gov. Butch Otter announced her successor.
Former State Tax Commission member and state Sen. Robert Geddes was named to head the department at the heart of the disbanded Idaho Education Network high school broadband project.
“Bob is a steady and trusted hand who knows his way around state government. He has faithfully and conscientiously served the people of Idaho for many years,” Otter said in a news release. “This new chapter in that service presents new challenges, but I know without a doubt that Bob is the right man to turn those challenges into opportunities for the Department of Administration and more importantly for the citizens we serve.”
Those challenges, presumably, would include figuring out whether the Idaho Education Network has a future. A district judge voided the project’s $60 million contract, and for the past two sessions, lawmakers have had to come up with bailouts to keep broadband in the state’s high schools. Local districts have signed their own broadband contracts, and jurisdiction over the process was shifted from Administration to the State Department of Education.
A nine-term state senator, Geddes served 11 years as Senate president pro ten, the chamber’s top-ranking member. He joined the Tax Commission in January 2011. In mid-2012, he returned to his old employer, Monsanto Corp.; during the 2015 legislative session, he was a registered lobbyist for Monsanto and the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.
Luna stepped down as Administration director after the 2015 session. On Monday, she began work as emergency planner for the state’s Bureau of Homeland Security.