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Hayden City Council candidate withdraws from the interim mayor race

Hayden City Councilman Roger Saterfiel officially withdrew from the interim mayor race on Friday.

HAYDEN, Idaho — Hayden City Councilman Roger Saterfiel on Friday officially withdrew from the interim mayor race.

He's also calling on Council President Matt Roetter to resign.

“It’s time for the Hayden City Council to begin the healing process," Saterfiel said. "Maybe new blood is what we need."

Too much time has been spent focusing on the council members, he said.

“My hope is that the council can come to some kind of consensus now that I’ve withdrawn," he said. "We know our community better than the governor."

Saterfiel, who has served on the council for 14 years, will now be able to participate when applicants are interviewed at 5 p.m. Monday. He would not have been able to participate had he remained in the applicant pool, as reported by the Coeur d'Alene Press.

If he had, Councilman Ed DePriest would have recused himself from the process because he said not all applicants would receive fair and equal treatment. And had that happened, Gov. Brad Little would have had to step in to make the appointment.

However, with four council members and no tie-breaker, the governor still could end up appointing the interim mayor. Whoever is chosen will serve out former Mayor Steve Griffitts' term, which ends January 2024. Griffitts announced his resignation Feb. 22.

Animosity has been on full display at times during recent council meetings, between council members and the public as well. DePriest has drawn ire from community member Teresa Roth. Roth gave public comment at Tuesday's meeting and sent DePriest a message on social media.

"I don't want to be divisive, but Hayden is not going to lay down and be rolled," she wrote. "If Saterfiel and you already know that Saterfiel cannot win. The vote has already been taken. If he does not remove himself from the applicant pool, things are going to get very ugly."

DePriest has recently referenced emails from Roetter to Saterfiel and to Hayden resident Joy Richards.

The Press acquired these and numerous other emails through public records requests. Some information was redacted before being turned over to The Press.

“Public record,” as defined by Idaho Code, includes but is not limited to "any writing containing information relating to the conduct or administration of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state agency, independent public body corporate and politic or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. Provided, however, that personal notes created by a public official solely for his own use shall not be a public record as long as such personal notes are not shared with any other person or entity.”

"BRING IT ON."

That phrase, all caps, is the subject of an email from Roetter to Saterfiel.

The email was sent April 6. Roetter touted his affiliation with "top litigators," his success suing his own attorney and how he caused a large corporation to file bankruptcy.

Roetter welcomed, even seemed to encourage, a challenge from Saterfiel.

"I must have said something that pushed his buttons," Saterfiel said in an interview with The Press on Friday.

At recent meetings, Roetter became defensive when DePriest appeared ready to share the content of emails. Roetter said he would not allow DePriest to disclose the content because they are "private."

Another email was sent from Roetter to Richards, who is active in the Hayden community. In that email, Roetter said he was "struggling with a morale [sic] issue concerning Roger." He then alleges Saterfiel had an affair in the past and discusses how his current wife, Stephanie, wrote a letter to the editor in support of Roetter's opponent in a City Council election.

"Stephanie's letter was in support of my opponent who was on probation in California, never voted in Idaho, lived in Hayden for 1.5 years and she was a car repo person," Roetter wrote to Richards. "The letter stated that she could be mentored by Roger and Dick (Panabaker) and therefore was the person to vote for."

Regarding his personal life, Saterfiel told The Press that the allegations are "untruthful hair salon gossip" from 42 years ago, when his ex-wife was Roetter's wife's hair stylist.

He said Roetter still holds a grudge against him for the letter his wife wrote supporting Roetter's opponent.

"I do believe in America your support and vote should not be held against one's family," Saterfiel said.

Richards said she thinks DePriest and Saterfiel have taken the high road in this series of events. Richards has frequently interacted with council members and regularly attended council meetings for about a year.

"Roger realizes that even if he were mayor, it would be so contentious with Matt still on the council," she said. "The common denominator in this whole problem is Matt’s behavior. He mocks and shames people.

"Both Roger and Ed have decided to put the best interest of Hayden ahead of their own beliefs. They are men of integrity and they are backing down because of Matt. They want the city to win.

"Matt Roetter is the common denominator in this unfortunate situation. He wants to fight. He is the one who has caused all these hard feelings."

Saterfiel said he was shocked, but not surprised, when he received the antagonistic email from Roetter, whom he described as "out of control."

"Matt Roetter has a history of intimidation and that’s how he works," Saterfiel said. "I found it very threatening.

"When Matt made this personal, then he stepped over the line," Saterfiel continued. "I’ve been in public service for 42 years. I can work with everybody. When you start making it personal and you attack my family, you step over the line.

"He has shown so many times he doesn't deserve to represent the people of Hayden," Saterfiel said. "The citizens of Hayden don't deserve any of this, but sometimes you have to go through an ugly process to expose what’s really going on."

Roetter did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him for comment.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 News partner. For more news from our partners, click here.

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