September 8, 2022
September 8, 2022
Commissioners Scott Miller, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock; and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
Sanford Langager, Steve Roi, Erin Schultz, Chris Schultz, Lee Stevens, Pat Plowman, Robert Braten, Tracy Konoske, Lisa Bennett, Chip Bennett, Mary Moser, Mary Cameron, Dave MacAusland, and Daniel Horman were in attendance for public comment period. Commissioners noted the election records destruction request is on the agenda at 10:30. MacAusland asked about the space required to retain records and expressed concerns about voter roll integrity. Bennett asked about viewing vault; Bullock noted the item is on the agenda at 10:30 for Commissioner discussion. Schultz encouraged Commissioners to retain records beyond the retention schedule of 22 months; concerned destruction of evidence would preclude any investigation to determine if there were in fact issues with the election’s integrity. Langager echoed previous comments and discussed email. Tracey Kinosky asked about prosecution of thefts; believes there was fraud based on election integrity canvas. Believes Christy Jacobson received more votes than Trump as a result of fraud. Believes people moving here are moving to escape democratic states and does not believe they have significantly changed demographics. Lee Stevens reiterated previous statements and noted 22 months is the minimum retention and asked commissioners to hold records longer. Bullock emphasized that he will not engage in the topic until it is on the agenda at 10:30.
MacAusland asked about E. Rosebud Road and E. Rosebud Lake access. Bullock noted the Forest Service is working on temporary access, but is having challenges with the distances involved; Bullock asked that those questions be directed to Ken Coffin District Ranger. Bullock would like to see the road rebuilt, but expects the timeline to be long.
8:55 Blain departed.
9:10 Sanitarian Director Barbara Krizek met with Commissioners for her monthly update. Assistant Lori Kane was in attendance. Krizek reviewed her written report (attached).
Miller signed the Agreement for the Cooperative Fire Grant for a Deputy Fire Warden.
9:30 Red Lodge Mayor Kristen Cogswell met for her regular meeting. Bullock noted requests from Park Ave and Kainu Ave residents that “No Outlet” signs be placed to help re-direct large delivery trucks. Kohley noted he has put in a request to google maps to display that both are open to local traffic only.
9:35 Blain rejoined the meeting.
Commissioners reviewed August Claims.
Miller moved to accept Commissioners Proceedings from August 11, 2022; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Miller moved to accept Justice Court Monthly Disbursements report for August 2022; Blain seconded; motion carried.
10:00 Deputy County Attorney Robert Spoja and Contract Deputy County Attorney Jacque Papez met for the regularly scheduled County Attorney time. Bullock and Papez discussed alteration of Lower Luther Road and the petition process to properly document the alteration.
Newell noted HR issue is moot as a resignation letter was received this morning.
Papez noted the receipt of a letter threatening litigation regarding elections issues and requested meeting be closed. 10:10 Meeting Closed.
10:35 Meeting reopened.
10:37 Interim Clerk and Recorder Macque Bohleen and Elections Administrator Crystal Roascio met with Commissioners to present an Elections Records Destruction request. Deputy County Attorney Robert Spoja, Contract Deputy County Attorney Jacque Papez, Carbon County News Reporter Alistair Baker, Mary Cameron, Pat Plowman, Mary Moser, Lee Stevens, Chip Bennett, Lisa Bennett, Steve Roi, and Dave MacAusland present. Roacio presented record destruction requests for 2021 municipal elections in Bearcreek, Bridger, and Red Lodge. Blain moved to allow destruction of municipal election records; no second; failed for lack of second. Roascio presented record destruction requests for 2021 Red Lodge School and Red Lodge Fire bond elections. Blain moved to allow destruction; no second; failed for lack of second. Roascio presented record destruction request for 2021 Detention Facility special election; no motion. Roascio presented a record destruction request for the 2018 Federal General election poll books and registers which are a four year retention. No motion.
Roascio presented a record destruction request for the 2020 General Election ballots and envelopes. No motion. Bullock opened the topic to public comment. Lisa Bennett asked about Commissioners viewing the elections room. Blain emphasized he has not been in the room, but observed from outside and indicated he believed there was space. No other comments. Asked when records will be presented back to commissioners. Bullock noted request will be placed on an agenda at a later date when Elections presents the request. Bullock noted possible litigation with Lisa Bennett listed as a litigant. Bullock agreed that the 2020 election was historical and challengeable but noted liability concerns when an entity strays from its past practice. Bullock noted Commissioners will consider filing a declaratory judgement action with the court. Bullock noted opening of records needs to be clarified and processed through the courts. Mary Moser asked why ballots can not be viewed because there are no identifying marks on the ballots themselves; Commissioners reiterated that sealed ballots cannot be opened without a court order. Bennett requested that they be retained for a set amount of time. Stevens objects that they are being referred to as a group; do not have a formal affiliation and are acting as individual citizens. Bullock asked about setting precedent and why specific elections be withheld over others. Stevens responded that the delay is in large part due to the lack of organization.
Bullock moved to preserve election records for all election presented for destruction today pending the decision on adjudication of the records; Miller seconded; question about correspondence outside of meeting. Stevens requested the parties originally contacted by County Attorney receive a mailed notice when issues is revisited. Cameron would like to clarify that comments made about opinions of folks in attendance do not include her views. Discussion about process for decision for County to act for litigation. Thanked Commissioners for breaking past practice. Motion carried.
11:10 2022-2023 Fiscal Year Budget. Blain moved to close Public Hearing for the 2022-2023 Preliminary Budget; Miller seconded; Bullock noted he has not received any inquiries in regards to the budget; no public comment. Motion carried.
Blain moved to approve Resolution 2022-21 to Adopt the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget; Miller seconded; motion carried.
11:30 Commissioners discussed the upcoming Extension Agent vacancy and the addition of a Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Extension Agent. Public Health Director Erin Cross was in attendance. Discussion of budget and work load with one of the largest 4H programs in the State. Blain noted Stillwater has two agents and half the number of 4H kids. Blain moved to accept the job description and to advertise for the Ag Agent position immediately; Miller seconded; motion carried.
Blain moved to pursue the addition of an FCS Agent with a minor focus in community development; Bullock seconded; discussion about FCS Focus and programs that include “education and resources relating to food and nutrition, health and wellness, and a wide range of family issues such as changing family structures, inter-generational relations; human response to stress and crisis; family laws, finance and economics; and decision-making;” motion carried.
Miller moved to approve claims for August 2022; Blain moved; motion carried.
12:44 Interim Clerk and Recorder Macque Bohleen met with Commissioners to request permission to advertise PT records preservation clerk position. Commissioners approved the request.
1:00 Weed District coordinator Brian Ostwald met with Comm regarding a property out of compliance with their noxious weeds. County costs would be $22,000 out of pocket (Approximately $20,000 in the Large Non-compliance Fund). Paul Gross one property in his name, other property infested is under G6 Farms LLC. 280 acres didn’t’ qualify for NRCS cost share because did not meet income thresholds. Ostwald recounted history of correspondence; landowner has alleged that Red Rooster Spraying is in cahoots with Weed District and they are only doing it to make Red Rooster money. Certified final notice letter was sent on August 25th; have not yet received RR.
Ostwald requested to attend the National Invasive Species Management Association Conference in Florida. Commissioners approved.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer