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Cheney leadership unplugged

Steve Boorman leaves after three years as city’s Light Department director


Last updated 9/20/2018 at 5:27pm

The city of Cheney is without another major player in its administrative ranks.

Light Department Director Steve Boorman has left the city to take a position with the city of Idaho Falls. Boorman is the second department head to leave Cheney this month, with Recreation Manager Kim Best stepping down Sept. 6.

City Administrator Mark Schuller made Boorman’s departure public at the City Council’s Sept. 18 meeting, noting in introducing a resolution for acceptance of a bid for supplying transformers that he had “moved on to greener pastures.”

In an email, Schuller said Boorman had accepted an assistant general manager position with Idaho Falls Power. Idaho Falls has its own power generation abilities, which is something Boorman has experience with in some of his past positions.

“We couldn’t match the (Idaho Falls) salary offer and to be honest, the new position suits his engineering skill set very well,” Schuller said.

A native of La Grande, Ore., Boorman came to Cheney in July 2015 after working 14 years with the North Idaho city of Bonner’s Ferry, where he spent a year as electrical supervisor before spending the last 13 as city administrator. Prior to that, Boorman worked as an engineer for five years at the Missoula Electrical Co-op after six years doing project and customer service work for Boeing on its 767/747 jetliner program.

Boorman graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering. In Cheney, he replaced long-time Light Department employee and director Joe Noland.

Boorman played a role in helping the city obtain funding to replace 725 older high pressure sodium street light fixtures with newer, more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) fixtures and lamps in 2016. Cheney received $264,260 from the state Transportation Improvement Board, with Bonneville Power Administration’s conservation program picking up the rest of the project’s $315,360 tab.

In a May 31, 2016 Cheney Free Press story, Boorman said the city estimates it will use 197,338 kilowatt hours of electricity, 56 percent of what it uses today, once all the fixtures are installed — amounting to an annual savings of $7,068.

Boorman was also instrumental in tackling issues such as additional Tier 2 power purchases, working out a favorable deal in 2017 for a megawatt buy from Northern Wasco County Public Utility District near The Dalles, Ore. He also oversaw upgrades of Cheney’s main power distribution system, and the ongoing issue of providing power to large data users locating in Cheney due to its inexpensive power rates.

“Steve did a lot of good things during his three years with the city of Cheney from assisting use in dealing with the emerging cryptocurrency industry to addressing some lingering technical issues within our electrical system,” Schuller said.

Currently, Schuller, Light Department foreman Travis Billigmeier and “to a lesser extent” Public Works Director Todd Ableman will be splitting duties handling the department. Schuller added that Daryce Hoffman, Utility Building office operations supervisor, will be assuming a lot of the position’s administrative duties.

As of press time on Tuesday, Sept. 18, the city had yet to post requests for applications to fill the Light Department director position.

“We will be taking our time replacing Steve,” Schuller said. “We are taking a look at the organization and determining the best personnel deployment route going forward.”

John McCallum can be reached at


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