Glacier County Commission Chair Mary Jo Bremner explained why several issues related to the Glacier County audit, budget, bonuses paid to employees and elected officials, job creation grant AgroLink, salaries for lawyers in Glacier County, etc., have not yet been answered. Bremner’s explanation came at the October 14 meeting of the commissioners.
“I think long and hard about them and Chancy (CFO Chancy Kittson) watching them. We have a court case pending and I’m sorry for my – I guess I’m not sorry – for my reservations about this and my distrust of these matters because if I answer badly, if I say a thing wrong, so I feel they will be held against me… ”said Bremner.
“I’m very careful with them, very meticulous about how we respond to them… and it’s just because of my suspicion of using things against the county every time we post things.” Bremner asked for patience, adding, “We may have something next week” for Glacier County businesswoman and taxpayer Elaine Mitchell and the local newspaper.
Bremner said she was “very, very careful about how to answer” the questions because she didn’t know why they were being asked. She said she had a “healthy distrust of this kind of information because we have a lawsuit pending against us …”
Bremner noted that Mitchell is one of four plaintiffs in the lawsuit and said some of the questions asked are “tax questions about how we do things …” The lawsuit Bremner referred to was filed by Jeff Gottlob, Elaine Mitchell, James Childress “and all the like like that” who have paid their county taxes in protest over the course of several years.
Mitchell, who attended the meeting by conference call, said she was disappointed with the mistrust because the questions asked relate to transparency and not the taxes being protested.
Bremner referred to the county’s recently adopted public comment policy and said she plans to lift the two-minute deadline as long as the public remains respectful and does not criticize her.
Mitchell said she apologized and that her intention was not to disrespect Bremner, but to help county officials understand why the state of Montana did not accept the treasury reports from the county and still withheld funds from the county.
Bremner claimed that “a group of people influenced the state by asking them to make us sign an agreement that they sent us this week …”. this area, the voters, the concerned citizens of this area, rushing this agreement that we must sign to be supervised or to bring in consultants every six months every month…. “
Bremner commented on his “trepidation” and “the general concern I have that people think the county cannot function and operate as it should … We have answered all of the questions from the
The state has and for them to issue this because of the citizens concerned is one of my concerns… ”
She concluded, “Give me about a week… it’s just my apprehension on how to answer these questions. “
Mitchell stressed that she expected the answers to come from Kittson since Bremner had referred her questions back to her. Bremner said Kittson would explain the answers to her and she would respond to Mitchell. “Give me until next Thursday (October 21) and I’ll try to make sure Chancy and I do these things.”
Commissioner John Overcast asked to comment on the question. “We hold our cards terribly close to our chest… questions that were asked four months ago… I stress that we have to answer them,” he said. “Looks like we’re hiding something,” Overcast continued. “Questions must be answered within an appropriate time frame… It’s a thin line that we are walking right now about not answering questions has nothing to do with the taxes being protested, nothing. “
“All of our financial statements are open,” replied Bremner.
Overcast asked about an upcoming meeting with state officials. Bremner believed the meeting was set for 9 a.m. on November 4, but when Overcast pointed out that it was not a regular meeting date, Bremner said she would check the date. Overcast said the meeting should be open to the public. Bremner said she would check with state officials as it was a “legal issue that we have with the state … I will check,” she assured Overcast.
At the time of going to press, no response had been provided by Bremner or Kittson to Mitchell or the newspaper and no further information on the November 4 meeting was available.
(The official recording of the October 14 meeting can be viewed at:
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