I’ve lived for 90+ years in mostly conservative communities. Never have I witnessed such governing incompetency as demonstrated by our five Ravalli County Commissioners. There are far too many examples of the commissioners’ ineptitude, disregard for valley residents’ well-being, wrong-headed priorities, and boneheaded decisions. It would aggravate my arthritis and make me hypertensive to enumerate them all here.
Suffice it to say I believe the treasurer’s debacle perfectly sums up the commissioners’ inability to effectively govern. I blame all five commissioners, not just the three extremists who voted “yea” for appointing the unqualified Ms. Stamey. Truth be told, not one commissioner adequately vetted her or asked probing, relevant questions to test her competency. Not one commissioner is publicly pressuring her to resign, or is initiating a recall process. Not one is utilizing state statutes that could suspend the treasurer for misconduct in mishandling our hard-earned taxes that we’ve handed over to her. The commissioners are abdicating their duty and responsibility to supervise the treasurer and ensure the job gets done. Incredibly, Commissioner Foss speaks as if this self-inflicted fiscal disaster is business as usual. It’s not. Yet don’t be surprised if Foss’ next utterance is “Heck of a job, Stamey!”
We are witnessing in Stamey the rotten fruits of appointing an unqualified political crony whose extremist tea party philosophy trumps effective governance or sane fiscal discipline. I ask you, is it simply incompetence, enabled by three tea party commissioners, or is it willful negligence, designed to shrink our county services to a nubbin? Or worse, is it pure corruption?
Ms. Stamey has a record of not paying her taxes, dubiously having three last names, and evading the South Carolina courts where she owes a whopping $17,399 judgment against her. Has she crossed the realm into criminal territory? Is she on the run? Are our commissioners inadvertently aiding and abetting her? Something smells very rotten in the County of Ravalli, and the stench is worsening with each passing day.
Our valley is suffering due to lack of funds because of the treasurer’s and commissioners’ gross negligence and incompetence. Our schools, fire departments, courts, public health, cities and towns up and down the Bitterroot are in financial distress because they’re not getting their rightful funding allocations. The treasurer and commissioners have run out of excuses, and our communities are on a financial precipice. Where has the money gone?
It’s all too clear that the responsibility for this debacle resides not just at the door of the unqualified, in-over-her-head treasurer, but in the laps of our county commissioners—all five of them to be sure. Treasurer Stamey/Addis/Scott and the commissioners need to own up quickly and right this capsizing ship. We law-abiding, tax-paying citizens are watching and waiting. The treasurer needs to confess and resign, be suspended, or be recalled. The commissioners need to immediately rectify the situation, publicly apologize, and accept ultimate responsibility and blame.
As for the three derelict tea party commissioners specifically: If there’s justice in the world, their comeuppance should come in the November election where voters, God willing, will elect thoughtful moderates who place effective governance above blind political ideology.