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Process of reorganizing elections department continues

Cascade County Commission Meeting.png
Posted at 4:27 PM, Dec 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 19:11:57-05

GREAT FALLS — It's been one week since Cascade County Commissioners voted 2-1 to remove election duties from the Clerk and Recorder, and since then, tensions continue to arise.

During the Commissioner's December 15th meeting, one of the main topics that was discussed was establishing an Interim Election Administrator. After the meeting, commissioners said that the process will take some time. During their December 19th meeting, that message became even more clear.

In the December 15th meeting, Commissioner Joe Briggs said it is their hope that by next meeting (December 19th), they would have a job description put together. Briggs also said he would like to have the permanent posting for the Election Administrator on the street by that same week.

As of right now, that process will have to wait.

During December 19th's meeting, Commissioners gathered in front of the public. Clerk and Recorder, Sandra Merchant was "called away for a family obligation," and unable to attend the meeting.

Rae Grulkowski said it was agreed upon that Merchant would help with the job descriptions, but since she was gone, didn't think it was necessary to move forward.

"I don't think that we should move forward without her input in solidifying a job description," Grulkowski said. "I have had a chance to look at these job descriptions. Ours are so uncomfortable to me. They're so padded."

As for the interim role, Commissioners said it is ideal to have someone who has experience that is related closest to the job and within the office.

Carey Ann Height, who serves as the Deputy County Attorney said her recollection is that they've not had a largely competitive process because they haven't had multiple folks with the skill set eligible to compete.

Grulkowski said she believes it’s best to choose someone from the office and familiar with the operations. The job description for the permanent position is what could take some time.

"We do have complex job descriptions," Briggs said "I'm a little more used to them, so to speak, for myself than you are. There's a reason for the complexity in them when it comes to litigation ... There's certainly a great deal more to it than what you see in the private sector."

Grulkowski said there are a lot of parts to revise in the permanent job description, and said it is vital to have Merchant involved in these conversations.

The Commissioners agreed to meet on Thursday, December 21st at 3pm.