August 20, 2022
Pocatello, ID–During a press conference yesterday afternoon at Caldwell Park, Councilmembers Roger Bray, Claudia Ortega, and Chris Stevens announced that they will resign their seats effective September 1. Speaking from a prepared statement, they explained that today’s announcement is the ending scene in a drama that began early in 2021 when they were sworn into office, and reached an intolerable climax at the May 19, 2022, Council Meeting. (For details on the walk-out that ended that meeting, see “Pocatello City Council Meeting Ends Abruptly as Two Council Members Walk Out” at pocatellochubbuckobserver.com.)
The three councilmembers described how their concerns have been discounted, their efforts to increase transparency thwarted, and their requests for information stonewalled. “The physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual toll on all three of us has been heavy,” they said, expressing their frustration at being the only ones who have “fought for accountability and transparency by pushing for oversight.”
Now that this year’s budget process is complete, Bray, Ortega, and Stevens believe they have reached the end of the service they can render to the city. Ortega and Stevens have sold their houses and plan to move to other states. Bray will soon be retiring as pastor and expects to pursue other opportunities.
In closing, they said, “To those good people of Pocatello that want accountability and transparency, to those that supported us: We apologize, but we are outnumbered, and the mayor and his cronies conspire together and are willing to stoop to any level to get what they want and to further their tax and spend agenda. We three have done all we can.”
The City of Pocatello has issued the following statement in response to the resignations:
We are aware of the resignations of Council Members Christine Stevens, Claudia Ortega, and Roger Bray. Due to the simultaneous resignations of three council members, we will be working with the Governor’s Office to reestablish a quorum in order to conduct business.