Judge James Manley’s recent decision to dissolve the Flathead Joint Board of Control (FJBC) validated my view when I resigned one year ago that I could not remain on an illegal board that was operating illegally. Shortly before I resigned, Judge Manley had ruled that the FJBC’s attempt to cancel the May 2016 commissioner’s election and its refusal to seat the winners were illegal.
I also was concerned about fiscal mismanagement. In mid-2016, another FJBC commissioner and I called for an independent audit because we found large-scale budget misreporting. Shortly after I resigned, new information surfaced that forced the FJBC to conduct an audit. The discovery that $210,000 was missing led to a FBI investigation which is ongoing.
Resigning was not easy, but I felt my legal risks were too high given that lawyers widely cast their nets in a lawsuit. For example, I was listed as a defendant in the lawsuit against the FJBC even though I had opposed the cancellation and sought to have the winners seated.
I am hopeful that all commissioners in the three districts that made up the FJBC will recognize the need to adopt sound fiscal policies and make all decisions in conformance with the law.