Carolyn Terteling-Payne

December 14, 2011
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Carolyn Terteling-Payne is a kind, intelligent person. My step-father suggested the idea for me to interview Carolyn because of her interesting background. She was the only woman mayor in Boise. Plus, three of her grandchildren are in my grade at North Junior High in Boise, Idaho.

An Idaho native, Carolyn, has always been involved in the community in Boise. In February of 1993, she was elected to the Boise City Council and was re-elected of 1993, 1995, and in 1999. Carolyn has always been involved in the community and is both a trustee and a chair for St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise and Meridian. Also, she is a member of two other community advisory boards the Learning Lab, and the Children’s Home of Idaho.

Question: Why and when did you decide to run for mayor?

Answer: I had served on Boise City Council since 1993. I was President of the Council for two terms totaling up to four years as president. We had a set of circumstances that caused the ethics of our mayor to become under review. It actually became a scandal and the media created frenzy. As a result of misdeeds on the current Mayor’s part, he chose to resign and spent 30 days in jail. The Council appointed me as mayor to fulfill his spot in 2003. When appointed, I announced in the very beginning of the term that I would not seek re-election, I did this because the community had been so distressed over everything had happened. Feeling that all of my actions would be interpreted with honesty, and not politics knowing I was not a candidate for re-election. Since, “I did not choose to become the mayor. I spent the whole year cleaning up the mess and correcting procedures that allowed these misdeeds to occur in the first place.”

Question: When Mayor, how did your life change?

Answer: Since, I was coming into office after the scandal, I had to terminate the employment of several people, put others on administrative leave, work daily with a forensic accountant, and cooperate with the media constantly. I was probably on the television or papers several days a week. I was going to my office very early and getting home very late. In essence, my life as mayor that year flat out ruled my world. “A complete loss of privacy, I had television cameras waiting for me when I got home,” but very hard for me to walk away after a great ride.

Question: Overall, how was the experience?

Answer: I would do this again in a heartbeat. It was gratifying to feel that all of the city employees were supportive of my efforts and was very willing to help me determine which process is to update and what kind of preventative measures to put in place. I met a great number of tremendous people and probably expanded my own horizons in understanding more deeply what the community from me and the City Council. I was especially interesting to work with other local elected officials from Eagle, Garden City, Nampa, Caldwell, as well as the representatives of the: County, Highway District, Auditorium District, and the Compass. The Compass is a Treasure Valley wide planning group.

Question: Any extras on being Mayor? Fun Facts?
Answer: I learned that this position of mayor is truly important to people. These people have very high expectations on how that office should perform. I was on television so much, I was recognized almost everywhere I went except this time at Costco.

One day, I was looking at books in Costco; a lady there kept following me around. Finally, she announced that she knew me. She wasn’t sure if I worked in her dentist office or if I was a greeter at Walmart. Finally, I told her I worked for the city but she still wasn’t convinced. At last I had to tell her, I was the mayor. After I told her, I thought she was going to faint!

A fun fact is that I was the first woman mayor for the city of Boise and I still am.

About a year after I left the Mayor’s office, I got a call from the Lt. governor of Idaho, James Risch. He was going to serve as governor of Idaho until Butch Otter returned from Washington D.C., in about eight months. He then asked me to serve as Director of Human Resources until the end of his term. It was very different to work in state government compared to local government. I learned a lot met some wonderful people, but was very happy to retire again.

Question: What are you doing now?

Answer: As I said earlier, I have always volunteered, and I have returned once again to service in that manner. I am a trustee for St. Lukes Regional Medical Center Boise and Meridian, and I am chair of two committees for the hospital. I am also a member of two other community advisory boards, The Learning Lab, The Children’s Home of Idaho. All of these activities and a thriving flock of grandchildren keep me happily engaged and actively involved.

Carolyn Terteling-Payne keeps her life busy and still does with many activities. She is an inspiring person on paper and off it.

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Mrs. D said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm
Great questions for a great public servant and human being written up clearly and concisely. Nice going ,Quinn
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