Big News at OPP

A big brouhaha erupted this weekend at the Office of Political Practices.

On Sunday, John Adams of the Great Falls Tribune broke the story that four workers at that office, permanent state employees, went to Adams and told him that Gallik was committing ethical violations because he was mixing his public duties with with his private law job.

According to the Adams story and subsequent reports, the four women, pictured below, alleged that Gallik sent e-mails on the state system in which he conducted his private legal business affairs, which is not permitted.  The four clerical employees also alleged that Gallik had not properly filled out his time sheet, and was crediting himself for more hours than he had actually worked. Gallik did send emails to his law office, the Tribune article revealed, and he admitted to having filled out his time sheet improperly but said it was done under a misunderstanding of the rules of state compensation. He said he subsequently corrected the error after receiving guidance from these women and from the governor’s chief advisor.

There was a definite buzz going around the web after this story appeared. Some said it was Gallik’s folly to try to juggle these two careers.  Some bloggers sensed a fishy smell surrounding the entire situation.  Highly discussed on several blogs were various suggested motives of the employees to have gone through Gallik’s office and take photos of the content of his desk as they did.

Also a big topic of discussion was the photo of the four women, glaring out at readers in a marinade of rage, with a dash satisfaction, several of their faces exhibiting a barely detectable yet unmistakable smirk. Predictably, some sexist comments made their way around the blogs. Here we stick to business and facts.

Tipsters to this blog, and commenters elsewhere, have suggested that these women had it in for Gallik.  That’s certainly possible.

Even though Gallik had clearly done some nos-nos, it’s hard to imagine that an entire workforce would try to bring him down in such a methodically lethal way, essentially declaring him a criminal, for some modest infractions that seem to stem more from Gallik’s ignorance of the rules than anything else. Plus, there are probably many state workers who make occasional use of state computers to send personal e-mails. Whether Gallik’s use was pervasive enough to require a termination is an interesting question.

Also, these women could not possibly know how much time, outside of the office, Mr. Gallik put toward his government work.  Perhaps Gallik worked nights at home. Gallik had evidently kept up with all of his work and issued decisions at a fast pace, and without incurring the expense of having to hire the outside attorneys (because he is one himself) that previous commissioners used, and says he thus saved the state some money.

Gallik also says he had butted heads with these staffers, in his attempt to convert the office of political practices–a notorious bog of bureaucracy, inefficiency and futility–from a paper system to an paperless one, an online digital filing system for candidates, lobbyists and the like.  In essence, Gallik seems to be saying that these gals were were resisting a modernization of an operation that they have overseen for many years, and wanted him gone.

There are two other items that should raise a flag, which emerged in Mike Dennison’s account of the matter.  First, after the story broke, Gallik was in the Political Practices office and stepped out for a bit.  During that time, the women decided to put in a call to the police.  Why?  They say that they thought he’d be talking to the press and thus the police should be alerted “in case he got upset.”  They admitted, however, that they didn’t think he could ever present any sort of threat. I’d say the call to the cops was frivolous, and maybe worse.

Second, the attorney retained by these gals is a big-time Schweitzer opponent, Tom Budewitz, who has clashed publicly with the Governor.

At any rate, after the phone call to the police, Gallik called it quits, announcing that he believed these women were out to ruin him and that he could not afford the damage they were seeking to do to him.   Clearly, reading between the lines, these women were probably not enjoying having to report to him, for whatever reason.

No doubt more exciting information will be dribbling out, as it always does.  But the facts are that Gallik is out, but the staffers will continue on as part of the permanent government.  A new commissioner will eventually arrive, and will have the pleasure of dealing with these cheery-looking folk.

Posted: January 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

53 thoughts on “Big News at OPP

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    NO COMMENT! I have been advised by my own personal attorney, Tom Buttwaste, that I can no longer comment this topic.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      JUMPIN’ PIZZLE STICKS! Is THAT the head of Dave mounted on the wall behind the “ladies”??

      1. Lewis Skolnik

        I dont care what side of this anyone is on but the picture with his head up there is damn funny.

        1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

          Funniest thing I’VE seen in a helluva long time! I missed it the first time I looked at the pic. Pretty much captures the spirit of the whole affair though.

  2. C.S.

    I am a state employee in Montana. I don’t want to give my real name, but felt it was important to say that I have on occasion used my state email account to email my husband about needing a ride to pick up the car from the shop or to coordinate personal schedules. I do my job well and my supervisor said that small occasional use of phone or email for this is okay. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble for saying that. I don’t know the details of this situation at all, but I know that every employee–state or otherwise I know has done what I have done.

  3. Queen City Dem

    The law that says no private business on state equipment was meant to prevent state workers from using state stuff to defray their business costs (copying, phoning, paper clips, stamps envelopes, etc). A few dozen e-mails over the course of six months is absolutely not grounds for termination or even reprimand. It’s complete nonsense. So is the timesheet thing, if he’s putting in a total of 40 a week. Sounds like he was working nights/weekends to get the work done. And anyone that’s ever had to deal with that office knows what a miserable experience it is to deal with that staff.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Well Queen, the GF Spitoon and their super reeporter (tee hee)adams think otherwise. The Four Horseapples of the Apocryphal were determined to get their man. And they did! Now, the only thing left to determine is why.

      As a student of Teatardism, I contend that this thing has Teatard written all OVER it!

      Find a newbie reeporter dumb enuff to fall for it. Check!

      Find a paper dumb enuff to run with it. Check!

      Use the standard Teatard lexicon like “he is STEALING I tell you, STEALING!” Check!

      Do something dramatic like call the local coppers. Check!

      Play the victim. Check!

      Hire rightwing lawyer. Check!

      This thing REEKS of rightwing Teatardism! I’ll lay you MONEY that this baker woman is as teatard as they come!

      The really sad thing though is how QUICKLY many so-called ultra-progressives bought into this nonsense. Real nice folks, huh? These folks are slime.

  4. Bob Rahlf

    If you can’t find humor in life you may as well roll over and die. I do feel bad for this guy though.

  5. Paul S.

    This is an outrage!!!!How DARE you poke fun at a situation involving the greatest heroes in state worker history! This story was the single biggest and best reasrarbhef piece of investigative journalism of our lifetime folks. Show some respect.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Yes but, ONLY………………the dumbest newspaper in the state would even TOUCH this story! The GF Spitoon!

      And puhleese, to all the whiney righties out there gloating over this great “scandal” and whining how mean lefties are, I would like to say, HEY, if you’re STOOPID enough to attemt to try this thing in the press, DON’T be suprised if we have a change of venue! To the the court of public opinion! In the BLOGOSPHERE!

      Look, we ALL have a dog in this fight. This is a STATE office, and as such, we all own it! So, when the press decides to TRY a good man in the press, DON’T be freakin’ suprised if it AIN’T accepted! What WERE they thinking?

      And AS members of the blogosphere, we certainly DO have the right to CROSS EXAMINE these “ladies”! Hey, it’s only right! And fair! And JUST! It’s called justice. Hey, they called the cops and ran off their boss! If you do INDEED want to slander a good man and try him in the press, do NOT come round whining when some answers are demanded of YOU!

      I get a leetle peeved when the GF Spitoon and its reporters get angry because we canNOT willingly accept as fact what they have written! What planet are these folks living on?

      It’s a bullshit story with a bullshit consequence. I have YET to hear anyone explain to me just what crime constituted the mess that we currently have! HEY, we ALL have bosses from time to time that we don’t like. But we DON’T all run to the GF Spitoon and whine like morons!

  6. Havre Voter

    In my view, the office is under staffed and under funded. Plus the nature of the job makes it a political football. I say put the whole process in the secretary of states office, which already oversees other electoral functions, and dissolve the current Opp. If the public has a problem with how these duties are handled we can then vote ourselves a new Secretary.

    1. James Conner

      I’m now leaning toward moving the campaign financing reports operation to the SecState’s office, and the enforcement arm to the AG’s office, putting both operations in the hand of career civil service personnel.

  7. Dave Skinner

    Bottom line is TIMELY DISCLOSURE in REAL TIME is the best possible function of the CPP office. Show us the money BEFORE the election while it still matters.
    If the ladies were featherbedding, they should roll. If Gallik was stonewalling, then he’s rightfully departed. THAT’S the issue the legislative committee needs to get straight.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Dave, so then you’re in favor of Gallik’s proposal to update the office to electronic filing? That is what you seem to be saying.

  8. laureli jones

    I am in favor of moving the fuctions of the office to the AG and Secretary of State. I agree with the Flathead Memo that a law professor would be ideal, but the legislature never appropriates enough funds (purposfully??) to get that kind of a candidate. It seems that one of the major flaws with this office as it is, is this.

    Political parties each use the office to file dubious complaints about the other to get headlines, knowing that the “complaints’ will never get resolved before the election. What a joke. It’s pointless. I also agree that we need instant online searchable databases. Anyone resisting that is stuck in the wrong decade and needs to retire immediately.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Hmmm. Well then, was this current destrction of the office premeditated then to achieve a meltdown BEFORE the election? I mean, why else? The mutiny itself makes no sense, nor the calling of the cops, nor the immediate hiring of a rightwing hack lawyer. Was the entire thing planned in advance? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

        1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

          Actually, that makes about as much sense as calling the cops, mutiny, hiring a rightwing lawyer in advance, etc., etc. Hell, who KNOWS what motivated these people to mutiny.

        2. rleeh

          CONspiracy theory is a dismissive phrase invented by they who built the conspiracy theory ovens…
          reiterated by those who feared the discovery that the “one lone nut” was bs…
          there seems to be some idiot notion around our fair land that nobody, save the texass monkey boy, would DREAM of tampering with the sacred election.
          seems it could be stunningly easy to fix an election, if THAT would even be necessary.
          all the more with electronics.

  9. Denise Jensen

    It is shocking that this system isn’t electronic. Downloading the pdfs is NOT enough.

    The public would be much better served by dissolving OPP and putting its functions in another, larger agency. This would help insulate it from legislative underfunding as well as end the isolation which has allowed this office to get 10 years behind the rest of the world in terms of information access.

  10. Mark Tokarski

    All very intriguing. I do hope Adams keeps at it. He’s doing journalism, that is, burrowing. Must be more to know here.

  11. Tom Budewitz

    This is fun. No one has ever called me a right-winger before. I have been a democratic precinct committeeperson, county chairperson and might have voted for a republican for a courthouse job once in the 40plus years that I have been voting but I can’t remember it. My campaign contributions have always been for Democrats or non-partisan judicial candidates. Right-winger? Wow, hardly. The last time I responded to this kind of nonsense I was scolding a Conrad Burns supporter for claiming a monopoly on values. I think its time for you kids to go to bed and let the grownups deal with this.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Why do these ladies need a lawyer, tommy? Care to comment on something substantial? A mutiny has occured. You are defending the mutineers. You are fair game, dude.

      1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        p.s. Or just start with sumthin’ simple, like just when did mutiny become a legitimate technique to effect change in state government agencies? I really, really want to know. I guess as a taxpayer I kinda have a right to know. Scold away, tommy. I can take it.

  12. Lincolr08

    Young people have just as much a right to participate in the discussion of public issues as anyone else. We’re the ones that are going to be dealing with this junk in the future. And frankly, if we were in charge, this office would have made it into the 21st century years ago.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      You’re abolutley RIGHT, amigo! You see, some young folks are intimidated by liarwyers. DON’T BE! I tell you a leetle secret. Just because they’re liarwyers DON’T make’em any smarter than YOU are!

      Look, here’s the deal. His clients decided to try this thing in the press. WE moved it to a new venue, the blogosphere, and he don’t like that. Well, you know what I say to that. TUFF NOOGIES, DUDE! Maybe his clients should have thought through their actions before pulling the trigger!

      Well, now it’s out there. You, my friend, have EVERY RIGHT to an opinion on this matter for it is YOUR state government, dude! Use it or lose it! Make it work for YOU!

      Welcome aboard, young dude! Us old dudes are behind you 100 percent! Glad you’re here!

  13. rleeh

    along with larry’s enthusiastic support…
    as for your gubment…
    as the saw goes…
    believe nothing you hear and half or less of what you see.

  14. Tom Budewitz

    Now Larry, you know I can’t discuss the substance but consider the irony: Mr. Gallik made a large fee a few years ago representing whistleblowers against the government; you are now defending him against whistleblowers against him.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      One man’s whistle blowing is another man’s mutiny.

      Problem is that I have yet to see an offense worthy of the disruption caused. If there was a serious enough offense, the press missed it entirely. The proof of wrongdoing rests soley on the accusers. And their method is highly suspect simply for lack of burden of proof.

      And you miss my point. I am not so much defending Gallik as indicting the press for allowing this to happen. They should have known better. It’s unconcsionable to try a man in the press without overwhelming evidence. And it just ain’t there.

  15. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    “Once they knew he was doing private work in his office, and was gone for long periods of time, they began to document his misuse of state resources. They also logged what time he came in and out of the office every day.” J. Adams from his post at Intelligent Discontent.

    Who does this, counselor? Who in their right friggin’ mind DOCUMENTS the comings and goings of their boss? A salaried employee? And why? And where do they find the time? This rises to the level of necesitating whistle blowing? Not to me.

    Sorry, but I must actually SEE some documented “misuse of state resources”! So far, all we have are ACCUSATIONS of misuse of state resources. And Adams and his paper the, GF Spitoon seem, to believe those accusations without printing any supporting evidence as proof.

    Sorry, I don’t believe anything without some sort of proof, and it just ain’t there.

  16. Scoop

    Lost in this mess is any concern for the integrity of the political process and clean elections. Instead supposed professionals act like child as they maneuver to promote selfish, petty agendas. Another example of citizens losing as lazy Goverment beaurocratics and unfit political appointees wage personal wars instead of coming together to serve the critical mission of a deserving public. Everybody involved should be ashamed as they have soiled the reputations of many hard working and dedicated public servants and appointees.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      AND, lest we forget, the GF Spitoon TOOK a jr. high drama and gave it headline billing! Now, I want to know which OTHER newspapers the accusers approached before finding one actually dumb enuff to PRINT it?

      I see this a.m. that ms. baker, chief accuser, has been promoted to head the office! Wow! Just wow! Nice work if you can get it! I say shut the entire office down until such a time as it can be determined if these “ladies” committed any wrongdoing!

      But I must compliment sen. jim peterson on his statement regarding the mess. He said, “I can’t address the allegations because there’s been no investigation or fact finding done. I anticipate that will happen.”

      One would THINK that maybe a newspaper breaking the jr. high drama would at LEAST have done some investigative work and found some facts! I thought that’s what newspapers did! My bad.

      1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        And the Spitoon had another hardhitting news story today front page and center. Seems that Dopey Reeburp REAFFIRMED his support for MANG! Wow. Now that’s some hardhitting journalism. I heard that there’s speculation that next week, Dopey will reaffirm his reaffirmation! Not to worry. The Spitoon will be there to cover it. Any time a teabagger farts, the Spitoon is there to sniff it up! That’s just the way they are.

  17. Joey Cacano

    Thanks for the a good laugh and the gist of what’s wrong with the American “TEAPARTY.” Read their backward, inbred and hillybill blog, remember they are dangerous because fools like these are funded by educated billionaires like the Koch brothers! Fox News tried to make us think the “TEAPARTY” were regular types, but these rednecks show otherwise!

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      There have been some very good suggestions as to how to do that. It’s become painfully obivious that what we currently have is an unworkable mess and prone to political tampering. I agree. Get EVERYONE gone, including the clerical workers who by SOME bizarre rationalization thought that THEY were complicit in some sort of wrongdoing even though they had reported to the proper authorities their concerns. From that point on, there actions simply became a vendetta.

      I’m sure the truth will out now though. The original story will never have legs because it’s too stupid. But it WILL have a life of its own until it’s run its course. And it should be fun to watch! I hope the GF Spitoon is proud of itself for printing such bullshit.

      1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        p.s. Bottom line. These clerical workers CROSSED the line! It was NOT in their job description to “worry about the integrity of the office”. That is simply indefensible BULLSHIT! Can someone show for me just WHERE in the job desrcription of a clerical worker that is says that they must be concerned about the integrity of the office? Anyone?? Anyone?? Anyone?? It just ain’t there.

        And THEN, their fallback position is that they didn’t want to be “complicit”. Well HELL, are these folks REALLY so unsophisticated to have never heard of CYA? I mean, come ON! They thought they saw wrongdoing, and they reported it. Their asses are covered.

        So, what are we left with? Nothing except vendetta. Look, even IF Gallik wasn’t reporting his hours as the clerical staff wanted, just HOW IN THE FREAKIN’ HELL did that have ANYTHING to do with the integrity of the office? Easy answer. It didn’t. And it CERTIANLY wasn’t baker’s job to determine what was and wasn’t bad for the integrity of the office.

        So, let’s be clear. This was a vendetta and a mutiny, nothing more, nothing less. And more than likely politically motivated. And pretty darn sad state of affairs that we’re left with.

        But I think that it’s important to understand exactly what transpired. There was NOTHING noble about their actions. In fact, quite the opposite. It was insurbordination of the highest order, and for that they should be fired. They embarrasse themselves and ALL state workers with their stupidity.

        There was NO whistle blowing, for whistle blowing connotes revealing very real harm done to the unknowing. Hell, fudging on a time sheet is NOTHING compared to real harm done to the unknowing. Why? Well, there was no harm.

        Now, these accusers should be held accountable, NOT placed in charge of the very office where they conducted their vendetta!

  18. Dave Skinner

    I’m not sure if I support breaking off the office just yet. That said, the paper system is pretty much a joke. Too slow, completely inconvenient. Only political junkies can justify digging around in the mess — and when they do, and find some fertilizer, it’s almost always too late to matter.
    We need to find out where the foot-dragging was. Gallik or the ladies? Until that is determined, any other speculation is moot — or premature.
    Further, let’s not be ignoring the apparent fact that Gallik was putting in less than a full-day commitment to a JOB that pays full time wages, pretty decent compared to the state average, at what, 58 grand?
    Sorry, I don’t give a rats patootie what his standard billable is, the state was paying him for 40 hours a week. If that wasn’t enough, then Gallik should not have accepted the position.
    The moonlighting or flex time or whatever you want to call it was not okay unless cleared with the Governor, with at least some respect for the women in the office regarding how “flexible” they were allowed to be.

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