The Glacier County Commissioners gave County Attorney Terryl Matt the go ahead to hire a special deputy to defend the county in the recent legal action filed by School District No. 15. Matt recommended the Commissioners hire Matthew A. Dodd, a Bozeman attorney.
Matt said when she contacted Montana Association of County (MACo) officials they did not think the county’s insurance would cover this legal action. Matt said all other legal fees for lawsuits filed against Glacier County “so far have been covered” by MACo.
Attorneys Elizabeth Kaleva and Kevin Twidwell of Kaleva Law Offices filed the legal action on behalf of Cut Bank School District No. 15 in Glacier County District Court on Dec. 21. The complaint, which Matt described as “broad,” named all three Glacier County Commissioners and Treasurer Don Wilson. She said Dodd will review the complaint further and determine whether or not they are named in the action as county representatives, individuals or both.
The commissioners approved hiring Dodd but his fee was not discussed at the meeting nor included in the motion and vote to hire him.
Local resident Kyla Presnell questioned why Wilson was named in the complaint filed by the school district and not the former treasurers or interim deputy treasurer Jolene Volkman.
Matt pointed out many of the issues in the Treasurer’s Office have been resolved since Wilson took over the Treasurer’s duties. But a few still remain.
She referenced 12 “fictitious” and “false” adjustments made by Volkman that are holding up some $300,000 in oil and gas payments from the State of Montana. Until the adjustments can be resolved, the Dept. of Revenue will not release the funds, said Matt.
The 12 adjustments somehow relate back to former consultant Bob Denning, of Denning, Downey & Associates. Matt said Denning and Wilson are trying get the issue “figured out soon.”
According to Matt, the Dept. of Revenue agreed to refund Glacier County an overpayment of $637,000.00 in centrally assessed taxes as soon as DOR receives an explanation for the adjustments that were made.
Commission chairman Michael DesRosier brought up the matter of hiring an appraiser to have the Glacier County EMS building appraised. DesRosier stated, “We’re going to get an appraisal on the EMS building…if we need to sell it or close it…” But DesRosier said the EMS service is “surviving, getting along” for now.
DesRosier continued that the commissioners are researching options to list the building as “an asset” in case they can’t find “$3 million to keep it operating...”
The commissioners adjourned without taking any action to hire an appraiser.