What Has Christi Done?

What Has Christi Done?

In an unprecedented move, Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen weighed in on Cascade County’s hiring process to fill an open election administrator position.  The move by Jacobsen casts further doubt on the selection process in the County.  The action provides further evidence of the corruption and incompetence of Republicans in our state and county.

WTF406.com has written extensively on the mess in the Clerk and Recorder’s office after Sandra Merchant was elected.  Due to Merchant’s incompetence, the county commission removed election duties from her office and began the process of hiring a qualified employee to administer elections.  Four finalists were interviewed by the three commissioners, and Terry Thompson was selected.  Two other candidates, Rina Moore and Lynn Deroche, were passed over despite having much more experience and training for the position. Each had approximately 16 years of experience administering elections.  WTF406 and others objected to the process, because Merchant’s crony Commissioner Rea Grulkowski participated in the selection process despite being directed by county resolution not to participate in decisions affecting the election office.

Now, thanks to excellent reporting by The Electric, we find out that Republican Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen weighed in on the hiring decision. Specifically, in an email from a state email account dated February 14th to county commissioners, Jacobsen wrote, “please do not hire Ms. Moore or a member of her administration as Cascade County’s Election Administrator. Doing so would directly undermine the voters of Cascade County, among other reasons.”

The  Electric followed up on the story after observing Merchant and Grulkowski going into the Secretary of State’s office on March 1st.  The Electric requested information from Merchant and Grulkowski about the reason for the meeting and whether public funds were used in their trip to Helena.  They did not respond.

County Commissioners Joe Briggs and Jim Larson both said that they were surprised by Jacobsen’s email but both added that it did not affect their decision, because it was a scored “structured” hiring process.  That may or may not be true, but Grulkowski also scored the applicants and her score alone was likely enough to jimmy the system in favor of Terry Thompson. And if we know anything about Rea Grulkowski, it is that she does whatever she pleases without regard for the rules and law.

So the liability for the county (and us taxpayers) continues to mount thanks to the arrogance of Grulkowski and her far right allies in their effort to control elections in Cascade County.  Both Rina Moore and Lynn DeRoche would have had strong political belief discrimination complaints before the Jacobsen email.  Now those complaints would be even stronger, and the state of Montana can also be brought into any legal action.

 

We Want You!

We Want You!

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,”  John F Kennedy, Inaugural Address

Did you know there are only two elected officials in Cascade County who are not Republicans?  All of our legislative seats are Republican, all of the County Commissioners are Republican.  The Sheriff is Republican, The Clerk and Recorder is Republican, The Treasurer is Republican, 

But these Republicans are not your Grandfather’s Republicans.  They are Trump’s MAGA Republicans who are seeking to impose their narrow views on the rest of us.  They want to tell us what we can read.  They seek to limit women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health care services.  They are rolling back the civil rights gains of the 1950’and 1960’s. They are attacking LGBTQI people and opposing efforts to address climate change.  They are even trying to rewrite history to reflect their narrow views.

Now is the time we can do something about it. And no, we are not talking about getting out to vote.  We are talking about putting your name on the bottom line and filing to run for office.  There are numerous legislative seats and one county commission seat open in the next election cycle in Cascade County.  All of them are held by Republicans and most of those incumbents are filing to run for office again. 

The deadline for filing for office is March 11.  We want to get as many reasonable people as possible to run for office.  Doesn’t matter if you file as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Independent.  We just need normal people who are not promoting the extreme agenda of the far right.

So here’s how to do it.  Just click on this link to the Secretary of State’s Office and follow the instructions.  https://prodcandidatefiling.mt.gov/candidatefiling/CandidateHomepage.aspx 

If you want a little help, these folks can help you.

Cascade County Democrats, Helena Lovick, Chair 

[email protected]

Cascade County Republicans, Eric Hinebauch, Chair  https://www.cascadecountygop.com/contact-us

Cascade County Libertarians, Tony Rosales, Chair, https://www.facebook.com/CascadeCountyLibertarianParty/

You don’t have to live in the district you run in and running a campaign isn’t as difficult as you might think.  The truth is you might not win but you can make a difference by letting these incumbent Republicans know their views don’t represent all of us.  And your efforts in this campaign cycle make it easier to elect reasonable people in the future.

FILING FOR OFFICE?   JUST DO IT!!

 


 

 

EPC Urges County Commission To Follow Resolution

EPC Urges County Commission To Follow Resolution

Last Friday, the Election Protection Committee delivered the following letter to the Cascade County Commission.

“Commissioners,

We were surprised and disappointed to see that you offered the election administrator position to Terry Thompson. We have already notified you via a letter from Mike Meloy, this selection process is flawed and violates County Ordinance 23-62.  Specifically, the ordinance states, 

WHEREAS, appointing an Election Administrator to serve at the direction of the Board of Cascade County Commissioners will eliminate the appearance of impropriety as any single Commissioner whose seat appears on the ballot in a given calendar years shall be required to abstain from all decisions concerning the operation and management of the election office during that calendar year until such time as the election for said office is finalized; and

Clearly, this language applies to Commissioner Grulkowski. Despite the fact that we notified you and the County Attorney that Grulkowski’s continued involvement in the election decision violates Resolution 23-62, no action has been taken to enforce the above provisions of the resolution.  

Though it is disturbing enough that Commissioner Grulkowski seems to believe that the rules and law simply do not apply to her, the fact that the County has allowed her to operate with impunity is highly inappropriate. Frankly, it is hard to understand why the County Attorney’s office has allowed this situation to persist.  

Now it seems our greatest fears have been realized. Commissioner Grulkowski has not only participated in numerous discussions, debate, and decisions regarding operation of county elections, she also participated in the interview process and the hiring decision for the administration of elections in Cascade County.  Moreover, Commissioner Briggs admitted during yesterday’s recorded Zoom session where the candidates were evaluated, that he and Commissioner Larson both rated Rina Moore as their top candidate. We can only infer from his comment that Commissioner Grulkowski is the only Commissioner who ranked any candidate above Rina Moore.

Those of us who watched the interviews were shocked at the final decision to offer the position to Ms. Thompson. Rina Moore clearly had more experience and answered the interview questions more thoroughly and accurately than any other candidate. We also saw that Commissioner Grulkowski was allowed to leave the interview room carrying all of her notes immediately following Ms. Moore’s interview and before the other applicants were interviewed. This action clearly calls the integrity of the selection process into question. We have encouraged Ms. Moore to seek appropriate remedy through the legal system. We are confident she will prevail in that arena.  

Our primary concern is that Cascade County’s elections are run efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, any legal remedy Ms. Moore, or any other applicant may be entitled to, is likely to occur after Ms.Thompson is instated as election administrator and would preclude an opportunity to offer the position to Ms. Moore.

We are writing to insist you retract your offer of employment to Terry Thompson, subtract Commissioner Grulkowski’s scores from the cumulative totals, and make the offer of employment to the applicant who scores the most points based on the ratings of Commissioners Larson and Briggs. Once Ms. Thompson is offered the position, the county will have crossed a line which is likely to result in significant time and expense.  We encourage you to act responsibly and avoid this unnecessary liability.”

Stay tuned for updates on this issue.