Montana AG Bungles Bubba Bump

Promoted Cop with Harassment Rap to Top Job

Sudden Resignation; Cowgirl Exclusive

The head of the Montana Highway Patrol, Kenton Hickethier, is resigning after only seven months on the job, after it was revealed he has a history of making inappropriate remarks to, or about, female employees and black people.

Kenton HickethierAccording to the Great Falls Tribune, Hickethier once said of a female trooper with whom he was disappointed, “If she were a man,” the rest of the troopers “would take her behind the woodshed.”  On another occasion, he made remarks “in regard to the age of (an unidentified trooper’s) spouse, a joke in regard to a female instructor’s weight, and a comment about (an unidentified trooper) having dinner with black troopers from North Carolina,” according to documents seen by the Tribune.  These incidents were noted in his personnel file and he was warned and/or disciplined.  These incidents happened prior to his appointment to Highway Chief, as far back as 2008.

And this evening Cowgirl Blog received additional documents, a Human Rights employment suit against Hickethier based on a gender harassment theory, in which Hickenthier is accused of having passed over an officer, Glenn Quinell (the accuser bringing the suit) for promotion because Quinell objected to Hickenthier’s misogynistic comments, and to comments Hickenthier made about Quinnell’s wife.  Quinnell  also alleges that Hickethier once ordered him to arrest two people for being in America illegally, even though there were no grounds; and that when Quinnell protested, he was reprimanded by Hikcethier.  Finally, Hickethier is alleged to have once said to Quinnell, “Once you go black, you never go back,” when Hickethier got upset that Quinnell was out socializing with black state troopers from another state, at a conference, rather than drinking socially with the white Montana team.

Hickethier has not been found guilty of the Human Rights complaint (yet), and one could argue that while his comments and actions are offensive and perhaps actionable, they are not all egregious.  But what is certain is that  Tim Fox, the Montana Attorney General who promoted Hickethier to Chief, must now answer an embarrassing question: why did you appoint someone to the state’s top police job, when he had a documented history of making such remarks?  It’s an almost comical case of incompetence on Fox’s part.

On the one hand, we know the global answer to that question: Republicans (and Hickethier is almost certainly a Republican if he was appointed by Fox) often do not have a basic understanding about the kind of things you shouldn’t say about women and black people.  Thus might Fox have simply assumed that there was nothing wrong with the things Hickethier had been disciplined for.

But we are to believe Fox, he says he never knew about these incidents.  He claimed today that he had no idea Hickethier had such a record when he hired him, even though someof Hickethier’s several offenses took place as early as 2008 and were listed in his personnel file at the Department of Justice.   This means that Fox made undertook no due diligence at all when he appointed Hickethier.  Never mind a formal background check, Fox didn’t even bother to look at Hickethier’s personnel file at Montana Dept. of Justice.    And this is a very scary thing, because Fox is the state’s highest ranking law enforcement official.  This is negligence and incompetence, of the highest order.

One other thing. If you read between the lines, it looks like Fox’s office is trying to claim that Hickethier was already planning to retire, and thus he is not specifically retiring because of these past incidents.  That’s pretty obviously a bunch of spin.  He was just appointed to the job seven months ago.


30 Comments on "Montana AG Bungles Bubba Bump"

  1. GuvmintRn'tworking | September 4, 2013 7:39 PM at 7:39 PM |

    Whadya expect? Ya ever hearda the Peter Principle? State guvmint hires reg’lar employees who got degrees in whatever they’re s’posed to do. But how many state guvmint managers have college manager educations? It’s a crap shoot when state employees are promoted up. ‘Bout 1 in 10 works out and the rest just cost, cost, cost taxpayers a fortune. It’s the same in ev’ry state building. Why should this dude be any diff’ernt?

    • Drunks for Aguare | September 5, 2013 8:55 AM at 8:55 AM |

      Boy, you hit the nail on the head. State government managers are the worst managers around. FWP is a classic example, its run by biologists who are terrible managers.

      Tim Fox really screwed up on this one. How hard is it to contact HR and read the file on those you are contemplating appoints? And, it is obvious that this Nate Buggerhoff fellow has zero concept of the legal responsibilities of harassment. Those of us who are managers and have this drilled in our heads on an annual basis can only shake our heads in disbelief over such profound ignorance.

  2. Whoa HO, here, Cowgirl. I actually know Kent, and he’s as fine and decent a man as there is out there. Hell, anyone can get charged with harassment now days. It’s just the way society is. Please don’t drag this good, fine man through the mud. You know not where of you speak. I would recommend Tim Fox keep him in the position that he’s in, for Kent is greatly qualified for the job. And you want to know something? As long as I’ve known Kent, I couldn’t tell you if he’s a Republican or Democrat. I simply couldn’t tell. He was just a decent human being.

    • “Anyone can get charged with harassment, that’s the way SOCIETY is?” Sounds like blame the victim to me. It’s people like you that support Todd Akin, Judge Baugh et al. Turn off Rush Limbaugh and try reading a newspaper.

  3. How is cowgirl “dragging him through the mud?” This is a report of facts with one or two mild editorial remarks, seems to me.

    • Simple. It’s a non-story. Hard to live in a world where good people are slandered by people who blow things way out of proportion. Let’s think of what Jesus said. He who has never made an off the cuff remark that offended someone be the first to denigrate this good, decent man and all his years of public service. Let’s be real for a moment. If one has such highly developed emotional feelers, maybe, just maybe, police work is NOT the line of work they should be going into.

      Cops are a narly bunch of dudes. Like doctors in the ER, humor is simply part and parcel of daily life. A stress reliever too. Some folks can’t take a joke. I, personally, don’t want to live in a world scared into silence. And that’s where we’re headed. The work world will be an awfully dreary place if we can’t poke fun at the incompetence of say the maintenance department, or the cooks.

      • So what you’re saying is “Hey! Boys will be boys!” Great – great way to excuse a guy who retallitates against employees who don’t go out partying with him and makes racially offensive comments.

        • This is Jesus again: Let he who has never gone out partying be the first to cast a stone at this guy. Let he who has never used a mild racially offensive joke be the first to call for his head.

          May I ask, what world do you live in? I’m surprised that you all have computers in the monastery, sister. Ever seen the porn sites???

          • Nate Buggerhoff here saying good night and good luck. Have a nice discussion.

          • You’re saying everyone you know uses racially offensive language and frequents porn sites? You think that makes it ok? You think the two are equal? What a stunning defense of Tim Fox’s appointee you offer. Perhaps Fox will appoint you next.

              • Please explain how this justifies racist language in the workplace. Thanks.

                • Easy. If you are honest, (a trait that nuns should have), you would admit that nearly everyone has done it. I think that honesty is the probably called for in “news” stories like this one before we print them. That would bring much needed perspective to the story. For example, if the reporter who did this story mentioned that, “even though I myself am guilty of this offense, whatever it is”, I must write this story anyway as if it were real news. That’s all. It is only in the convent where there is a vow of silence and human beings apparently do not inadvertently offend one another. That’s why I couldn’t live there.

  4. So, either you “admit” you’ve done or said the same despicable things as Nate (because that’s how the world is) or you’re a hypocrite? This is quite telling. The fun at work would evaporate if you had to avoid offending people? Thanks for sharing- this, folks, is the problem. Leaders, in particular, have a responsibility to act as models for others. So the sordid “the way it is” disappears.

  5. Nate…most, if not all of us have made insensitive remarks, but here’s the rub. None of us are the head of the MHP and have several instances of this unprofessional behavior in our personnel file.
    I don’t know this guy from Adam, but it seems to me that the head of the MHP should not be perpetuating the stereotype of sexist, bigotted country bumpkin from the 1950’s.

  6. This is the problem with your “humor.” It’s not funny. Humor takes context, culture, and language into consideration. If a joke is going to come at the expense of someone, perhaps it should be cranky, middle-aged white guys who watch porn and make racist and sexist jokes at work and who are going to go down on the wrong side of history, i.e., you, dude. That’s just how society is.

  7. The fact remains that government agencies operate in an atmosphere of complete political correctness, where once sentence heard by the wrong ears, can get you sacked.
    Never mind that there are employees in government who are just PRIMED to hear that one sentence so they can score a Christmas bonus or even an early retirement.
    That said, Fox should have vetted the dossier a little better…but then again, there wasn’t any political blood to be spilled until after Hickethier was promoted.
    But that’s politics.

    • Ah Dave if you went to work for the government….your job is political correctness in Policy, and action. Anything outside of that is grounds of dismissal!

      Political correctness is part of the job description Dummy!

    • Get that tin-ear checked out, Dave. The very point of the post is that “once (sic) sentence heard by the wrong ears” did not get someone sacked at all, despite your claim. In point of fact, the asshole got promoted, not fired. And just exactly how do you define the “wrong” ears, Skinhead? That someone might have taken offense at what should be patently offensive does not make them “wrong”. You’re blaming the victim, Dave. Of course, given low standards, that’s par for you.

      • Can’t you read contextually, Kailey? You zeroed in on a typo, sho nuff, but missed the important stuff — the “Fox should have vetted the dossier a little better” part.
        As for your central premise, you’re telling me there aren’t folks in government service just waiting for an excuse to cash out on a “hostile workplace” complaint, RK?
        I had a job like that once, in the private sector, where this one lady was obviously fishing for something. She was not real productive to start with — I can’t remember what tripped my DEW system, but it was triggered.
        But because I am a “journalist” and part of my job was to record interviews, I had this handy pocket tape deck. And I recorded some things on the sly.
        So, when word hit that she’d filed, I gave my secret stash to the transcriptionist, and that was the end of her, not me. I, and the firm, probably would have been dead meat otherwise.
        As for victims here — where in the constitution does it say people have a right not to be offended? And never mind that guess what, Hickeither is gone from the payroll.
        This is all about trying to slime Fox for the next election. Don’t try to wrap yourself in a clean white sheet of purity. Unless you have the hat to go with it.

        • Context? Here’s the context, Dave. Yes, Fox should have reviewed the dossier better. But more to the point, you claim that those who say ‘bad things’ in the mind of liberal enemies get fired. Case in point being this very post, you are so wrong that’s it’s laughable.

          Yes, there are those who wait and lurk just to destroy the careers of others. Your anecdote shows that you are one of them. So much for context.

          • RK, If Hickethier hadn’t resigned, the loyal progressives of Montana would be howling at the moon here, with the specific goal of flogging, not just Hickethier, but Fox. GMAFB. The guy resigned, retired, is gone.
            This was, and is, an attempt to score some kind of political points against Tim Fox. Yes, a minor one about vetting. Sorry, no scandal here, I’m sorry, never mind it will be irrelevant in 2016 anyway. Darn for you.
            And you are saying perhaps I should not have had the good sense to detect an EOC fishing expedition and protect myself and my employer?
            One thing about you progs that never changes — any logic or linearity in your thinking is always a huge surprise. Stick to plucking chickens.

  8. My folks would punish us for calling the neighbor kid names about his/her appearance. Political correctness used to be called “manners.” It was supposed to teach a person how to respect others, not make fun of them in order to exclude or alienate them. Women and minorities are in the workplace. It really is simple: Stop making jokes at their expense.

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