The Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) recently organized for its Annual Conference where it held its yearly awards presentation. Due to the cancellation of the IAC Annual Conference in 2020, we honored the 2020 award recipients at this year’s Annual Conference. The 2021 Mills-Adler and Syd Duncombe awards will be presented at the 2022 IAC Midwinter Conference in February, and we’ll resume presenting the 2022 awards at the IAC Annual Conference in September 2022.
The Mills-Adler Award is given to officials from various affiliate associations for their dedication and significant contributions to their counties. The award is named in honor of two distinguished county elected officials: the late Darwin Mills, Lincoln County Sheriff, and the late Betty Adler, Payette County Treasurer. Both exemplified the qualities all county elected officials strive for.
Recipients of the Mills-Adler Award for 2020 were:
Linda Jones, Lincoln County Assessor
Linda Jones became a certified tax appraiser in 2001 and was elected county assessor in 2007. She has held many offices, including serving on the IAC District IV Elected Officials from 2010 – 2013 and the Idaho Association of County Assessors (IACA) Executive Board from 2012 – 2017.
She is Chair of the IACA Motor Vehicles/Parks and Recreation Committee, serves on the IACA Rules and Ratio Committee, and is the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) representative for IACA. She has been on the IAC Intergovernmental Affairs Committee since 2008 and is also a member of the ITD County Engagement Team. In 2018 she was appointed by the Governor to the Autonomous & Connected Vehicle Testing Deployment Committee.
Joe Larsen, Cassia County Clerk
Joe Larsen took office as the county clerk after winning a three-way competitive primary and was re-elected twice. He has held many offices with IAC, including president of Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks (IACRC), chair of the IAC Health and Human Services Committee as well as participated in numerous other IAC Steering Committees.
Governor Otter appointed Joe as the chairman of the Electronic Recording Commission. He has also served on the Human Services and Education and Telecommunications and Technology Steering Committee at the National Association of Counties (NACo). He is the only elected official in Idaho who has been elected to county office in two counties.
Sid Brown, former Madison County Prosecuting Attorney
Sid Brown was born in Rexburg, Idaho but has had the opportunity to live around the world due to his father’s enlistment with the Air Force. Sid graduated from Frankfurt American High School in Germany and later attended and graduated from Ricks College, BYU-Provo and the University of Idaho law school. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable District Judge J. Ray Durtschi, worked with the Garden City Prosecutor and then took an opportunity with Quane, Smith, Howard and Hull.
In 1985, he moved home to Rexburg and worked as a deputy prosecutor until January of 1993. He then accepted a position with Mark Rammell, a newly elected county prosecutor, and worked as his deputy for only six months when Mark became the County Magistrate Judge. Sid was appointed to take Mark’s place as Prosecuting Attorney. He served as the county prosecutor from June 1993 to December 2019, at which time he retired. After a brief respite, he returned to work as a part-time deputy prosecutor for the county, where he remains today.
Award accepted by Todd Smith, Madison County Commission Chair – Todd Smith
Craig Rowland, Bingham County Sheriff
Craig Rowland has served as the elected sheriff of one of the largest counties in Eastern Idaho. He started his law enforcement career in 1986, and in 1996 he began serving as the sheriff’s chief deputy. In 2012, he was elected as the county sheriff.
Craig has held several leadership positions within the state including Idaho Sheriffs Association President, Accident Investigations Reconstructionist, Field Training Officer, Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, County Emergency Management Director, Tri-County Sheriff’s Association Chairman and Board Officer, as well as the Idaho State Police Officers Association Chairman and Board Officer. He also served on the RMIN (Rocky Mountain Information Network) Executive board for the last nine years. In 2019 he served as the District 5 representative for the IAC Legislative Committee and sat on the IAC Steering Committees for Justice and Public Safety and Transportation.
Not present to accept award, so it will be announced at a later time.
Ellen Masterson, Shoshone County Treasurer
Ellen Masterson was first elected in 1998 and has been dedicated and hardworking since the start of her first term. She is involved in many committees through the Idaho Association of County Treasurers (IACT), District I Elected Officials, and the Idaho Association of Counties. She has served as the IACT President, District I Chair, and was the IACT Representative on the IAC Board of Directors. She currently serves on the IAC Public Lands Committee.
Ellen has chaired or been a member of several IACT committees including Research & Analysis, Education, CAI Financial, Forms, STC Computer Support, By-Laws, IACT Manual, Memorial Fund, and Parliamentarian. She has coordinated and hosted two IACT annual conferences and is always willing to volunteer or assist wherever needed in IACT activities or committees. She has received a certificate of appreciation for giving a property tax training at a Kellogg Rotary meeting and has completed over 300 IACT Education hours.
The second distinction presented at the conference was the H. Sydney Duncombe Award, which is IAC’s highest honor given to individuals who have greatly contributed to furthering county government through development and education in Idaho. The award was created in 1988 in honor of the late Dr. H. Sydney Duncombe, who taught and trained numerous county officials in their roles and responsibilities.
The recipient of the H. Sydney Duncombe Award for Excellence in County Government is Alan Dornfest, Idaho State Tax Commission Property Tax Policy Bureau Chief.
Alan’s career spans over 40 years; starting in 1977 as a Research Analyst 2 with the Idaho State Tax Commission to his current position of Property Tax Policy Bureau Chief. Hundreds, if not thousands, of county elected officials and Idaho citizens have directly benefited from his knowledge, expertise, and dedication to sound policy.
His duties include supervising staff in research and policy development; researching, analyzing, approving property tax levy rates and budgets for over 1,100 taxing districts, formulating policy and providing technical expertise on property taxation and sales tax distribution; serving as legislative liaison, and tax policy advisor. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Tax Commission’s Rules Committee, Chairman of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) Technical Standards Committee, and Chairman of IAAO’s Survey Task Force. He has served on the IAAO Executive Board and is currently a senior IAAO instructor.
When tax policy issues arise in Idaho’s executive and legislative branches, he is frequently called upon to explain the impact of competing policy decisions. Through his extensive understanding of Idaho’s property tax law and with his sense of fairness and openness, he creates a consensus of support to take the rules to the germane legislative committee for approval.
Because of his ability to make understandable the many complexities of property tax and property tax policy, Alan is frequently interviewed or cited by local radio, T.V., and print media. Of his many accomplishments, one stands out that makes him a deserving recipient of this award: co-authoring IAAO’s seminal text, Fundamentals of Tax Policy.
IAC was thrilled to honor these outstanding individuals and recognize their many accomplishments and contributions to the betterment of their counties.
To see the full awards photo album from the conference and download pictures, visit our flickr page.