Ravalli Co. Commissioners Decide To Sue Treasurer - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Ravalli Co. Commissioners Decide To Sue Treasurer

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HAMILTON -

After months of heated public debates, and hours of debate Tuesday afternoon, Ravalli County Commissioners agree to file a lawsuit against County Treasurer Valerie Stamey. They said she neglected or refused to do her job, costing the county $30,000. Now they want her to pay.

Ravalli County Commissioners said it could be a few weeks before the County Attorney files the suit. Meantime, Valerie Stamey is taking some legal action of her own.

Frustrated Ravalli County residents filled the hearing in the hopes of getting some answers from the County Treasurer.

"I have extreme concerns about what she did and didn't do." said Stevensville Mayor, Gene Mim Mack, one of many concerned Hamilton citizens to take the floor.

Stamey was invited to the meeting to defend herself, but when she didn't show up, County Commissioners decided it was time to take action against Stamey to get the $30,000 in fines the county owes for filing almost 60 late reports from October to December.

"Title VII provides the requirement for the County Commissioners to take action for the County Treasurer not making timely reports," Ravalli County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Greg Chilcott.

Under Montana law, a County Treasurer is required to make monthly reports to each county agency showing all receipts, payments, or any other dealings with the treasurer's office. The treasurer is also supposed to take liability for all of the county's receipts and deposits.

"We've had many of our agency partners from around the county indicate their extreme concern about the lack of performance for the County Treasurer, about filing reports or making payments on their bonds , et cetera," Chilcott said.

Commissioners unanimously decided Stamey failed to do her job, finding almost 60 missing reports for more than 20 agency's, including school districts, cities and fire districts. Each missing report equals a $500 fine.

"The board today was very deliberate in finding facts and reading law," Chilcott said.

Meantime, Stamey's attorney released a letter saying she didn't attend Tuesday's meeting, because there are no facts or evidence for the county to base its decision on.

The letter also said Stamey filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging libel against Anderson Zurmuehlen, the firm auditing her office. The letter said this is the first of many lawsuits to come.

Commissioners say they won't officially terminate Stamey until a two-part investigation into her office and the county is complete.

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