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IAC Awards H. Sydney Duncombe Award to Tom Katsilometes

The Syd Duncome Award is the Idaho Association of Counties’ highest honor given to individuals that have greatly contributed to furthering county government through development and education in Idaho. The award was created in 1988 in honor of the late H. Sydney Duncombe, who taught and trained numerous county officials in their roles and responsibilities.

This year, the recipient of the Syd Duncombe Award for Excellence in County Government was Tom Katsilometes, Idaho State Tax Commissioner.

Katsilometes served as a Bannock County Commissioner from 1983 to 2001, spending 16 years as the chair. He served on the IAC Board of Directors for 16 years and received the Mills Adler Award in 1998.

In 1985, during his tenure as a commissioner, commercial insurance carriers began to distance themselves from county liability coverage. Counties were receiving cancelation notices or 200-300 percent premium increases from their insurance carrier. Katsilometes worked with other county commissioners to find an affordable liability coverage for Idaho’s counties. It was through this need that the idea of a joint powers organization was born, which today we know as ICRMP.

Katsilometes served as the vice chair of ICRMP from 1985-1989 and chair from 1989-2000. In 1993, he was involved in the construction of the ICRMP building, or as it is titled today, “Local Government Center.” At the end of his term as county commissioner, he began a short career with Mutual Insurance Group of Pocatello as the Director of Group Programs. It was through this employment opportunity that he became involved in the discussions of a local government pool for health insurance. A pool was eventually formed, which is recognized today as the GemPlan.

Currently, he is a state tax commissioner. He was first appointed to the position in 2005 by Governor Kempthorne and has been reappointed twice by Governor Otter, with his current term ending in 2023. He has been involved in many facets of the Idaho State Tax Commission (ISTC) but has specific oversight of the County Support Division. He is a regular participant in IAC Conferences and affiliate meetings. He is a faithful attendee at ISTC Rules Meetings and regularly communicates with assessors and other elected officials.

Early in his life, he was an accomplished boxer. A three-time Regional Golden Glove and AAU Boxing Champion, winning some 60 of 65 bouts. This would explain his appointment to the Idaho State Athletic Commission.

He has been married to his wife for 43 years and they met while attending Idaho State University in the 1970s. They have two grown children. In 2013, Katsilometes and his wife were named the first joint recipients of the Idaho Hometown Heroes Award.

It is with great pleasure that Idaho Association of Counties awards this year’s H. Sydney Duncombe Award for Excellence in County Government to Tom Katsilometes.