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Lawsuit Filed in Glacier County For Theft Of Services

The legal challenges in Glacier County extend beyond county officials.

Lawsuit Filed in Glacier County For Theft Of Services

Lawsuit Filed in Glacier County For Theft Of Services

By Tim Ravndal

Montana’s Glacier County has been “in the red” for several years.  Due to the failure of officials from Glacier County to be properly accountable to its citizens, taxpayers from Glacier County have begun to sound the alarm.

Local government officials are required under the “Local Government Budgeting Act”  to balance their annual budget. With the county having recorded a huge deficit in the annual local budget, a shock wave of anger has traveled across the entire county.  The files regarding the required annual budget audits and government accountability in Glacier County are full, dating back many years.

2020 is here and the battle is now moving forward in Northwest Montana.  Emergency services are center stage on this one, but the connections to other financial battles are in the history books.

The legal challenges in Glacier County extend beyond county officials.  The death of an inmate in the county jail triggered legal action.  In this 1980 case, a claim was filed that was founded in neglect by elected officials.

The City of Cutbank and Glacier County officials were placed under suspicion of conspiracy.  It was claimed the officials were actively working to cover up the death of the inmate.  The case made a direct connection to the open violation of civil rights laws.

With multiple other questions pending, this reporter also found that in May of 2019, the Cutbank School District No. 15 filed suit against Glacier County Commissioners and the County Treasurer.  This complaint  alleged that the local government violated its statutory duty to provide accurate and timely financial reports to the school district.

The school district was faced with severe revenue shortages, revenues it needed to keep the schools open.  The suit asks for the law to be followed by Glacier County officials.  The relief sought is to afford the school district the legal ability to collect the funding it is entitled to.  That funding was denied based on improper record keeping by the County.

America has been working hard to undo the negative impacts inflicted on the people due to Obamacare.  Here in Montana, Governor Bullock took that effort backwards when he signed the Medicaid Expansion (ME) bill passed by the legislature in 2019.

The citizens are now in a different “ball game” in Glacier County.  The Montana Legislature passed the ME bill and that places an additional burden on local government infrastructure.

A former EMS Director sued Glacier County in June 2019 over her wrongful discharge because she refused to violate the law in that she would not cover up documents regarding the audits.  The suit filed in Glacier County District Court, contends that the EMS Director was involuntarily removed from duty under 39-2-903MCA that provides protection for the “Whistleblower.”  The suit is founded under the Montana Human Rights Act.

The County Commissioners recently canceled the healthcare contract with the Blackfeet Community Hospital.

Historically the county took on the service of transporting patients from Browning, Montana to more modernized hospitals in Montana for expanded care. The county is claiming that the Indian Health Service Agency failed to comply with the contract.

A recent television news story stated that Rear Admiral Michael D. Weahkee, President Donald Trump’s nominee to take over as Director of IHS, will address the payment issue regarding the Indian health care program, once he assumes his office.

The lack of payment for services has resulted in local government revenue losses that are needed to keep emergency personnel employed.

The suit against the county is claiming that the management of the health care facility in Browning has failed to pay $1.8 million dollars in services rendered by the EMS program between 2014 and 2018.

The dispute is now in U.S. District Court where the argument of who failed to properly bill and document claims is on the table.

 

 

Don Bradway contributed to this article.

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