KBCI programming goes off-air

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BONNERS FERRY — Programming and broadcasting of local KBCI channel 9 have ceased, though the other critical functions of the Boundary County Translator District, associated with translation and rebroadcasting, will continue uninterrupted.

In an April 12 press release, the District cites technical difficulties as the cause of the cessation.

John Cafferty, attorney for the BCTD, recognized a technicality regarding the October 2015 Service Agreement between the board and the contractor, TechPartner, that rendered the agreement invalid, according to draft minutes of the April 4 special meeting that was held to discuss the matter. Cafferty advised the Translator board as to how to proceed in order to correct the issue.

After the procedural error was detected, Boundary County Translator District Chairman of the Board Allen Gemmrig sent a letter to TechPartner, giving notice of the termination of the Oct. 4, 2015 Service Agreement entered into with the company through its President, Michael Listman.

After thanking TechPartner for past services, Gemmrig informs Listman, “We have been advised that the Service Agreement as entered into violates provisions of Idaho law and as such the District is unable to continue forward with this Service Agreement.”

According to the April 4 minutes, board members discussed the Oct. 4, 2015 special meeting, during which a contract to provide TV broadcast studio services to the county from TechPartner was signed at a time when Listman was Chairman of the Board.

The minutes reflect that Listman stepped down at that same meeting, but the board was unaware that an acting chairman couldn’t draft and sign a bid contract. The procedural error appears to have been inadvertent, but now the board is required by state law to rectify the situation by going through the bid process again.

Gemmrig assures TechPartner that, “If the District rebids the services you are welcome to submit your bid for the same when the matter comes up in the future.”

In the BCTD board’s April 12 press release, the District assures the community that they are evaluating how best to serve the public, and are exploring options for a path forward. They apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the community’s patience and consideration.

The next regular board meeting will be on May 16, 5 p.m., again at my office.

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