Casper, City Council discuss POW/MIA flag flap

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — Mayor Rebecca Casper and the Idaho Falls City Council spent part of their Monday work meeting discussing the recent controversy surrounding a POW/MIA flag flying outside City Hall.

The conversation came two days after reported that city attorney Randall Fife recommended the removal of the flag. City staff were prepared to remove the flag permanently Friday but it was never taken down and Casper announced it will remain on the city pole until a flag policy is implemented.

“The news story just clinched it for me,” Casper told the City Council. “At that point, it became clear that in this particular case it was going to make more sense to leave the flag up than to take it down.”

Casper said had she decided to take the flag down, it would have ensured fairness to everyone in the city and mitigated the possibility of a lawsuit.

“Leaving it up — there’s a risk, but taking it down had a greater risk,” Casper pointed out. “It would be interpreted as uncaring, insensitive statement toward veterans.”

Councilwoman Michelle Ziel-Dingman asked Casper how many requests the city has received to place a group’s flag on City Hall’s flagpoles.

Casper responded that she had received one request to place a banner on City Hall. She said there was also a question about a Confederate flag near City Hall, but there had been no specific requests from any groups wanting to place a flag on the city’s flag poles.

“Nobody called the mayor’s office and said, ‘I am upset’ or ‘I have a question’ or whatever about the POW/MIA flag,” Casper said.

Fife and his office are now crafting a flag policy that will go before the City Council for approval.

Watch the conversation about the flag in the video player above.