The Montana Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) has been "in the news". The Helena Big Sky Tea Party began researching the stories. A project which started as a recap of "News Stories" became very involved, with research spanning several years, reading of audits, listening to the legislative audit committee hearings and speaking with legislators who attempted to followup on the audits; including invoking a subpeona for information. That is correct a legislative committee which oversees this department's budget had to resort to a subpeona to have requested information produced. More Content will be added as the documents are reviewed.
To grasp the amount of taxpayer money passed through this agency below is breakdown for only the Federal Audit period for 2007-2009 (see Dec 16, 2011 for OIG Audit Link below for the full audit).
June 14, 2013 Missoula AP Montana DES survey shows some worker dissatisfaction
MISSOULA — Most state Disaster and Emergency Services workers believe employee satisfaction isn’t a high priority for their bosses and nearly half of them say good job performance isn’t recognized, according to a new state survey of the workplace climate within the Department of Military Affairs. But the workers whose job it is to aid in the response to flooding and other disasters have a high sense of their mission, the survey found. Read More
June 12, 2013 TOWNSEND - A group of citizens in Broadwater County is looking for answers from County Commissioners about thousands of dollars of already-spent grant money. The group believes the disaster and emergency services money was used in violation of Montana law and by parties in conflict of interest. Read More
May 31, 2013 Helena Montana Disaster and Emergency Services chief of staff resigns Paul Grimstad, the chief of staff for the embattled Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, submitted his resignation Monday, an agency spokesman said. Grimstad will leave the agency on June 30, said Maj. Tim Crowe of the Department of Military Affairs.It is not clear whether Grimstad’s resignation is related to a workplace assessment conducted after a 2012 study found distrust and dysfunction within the division. Grimstad also is named in a lawsuit by a former DES employee who alleges another worker received special treatment because of an affair with Grimstad. “He tendered a resignation. That’s all I know,” Crowe said.
April 11, 2013 AP Montana Counties Say DES Requirements Overly Burdensome
The troubled agency responsible for preparing Montana for emergencies has been beset by lawsuits by former employees, claims of a dysfunctional work environment and now complaints that overly burdensome and shifting regulations are causing headaches for several counties. Read More
April 1, 2013 AP Helena General says his firing was related to DES lawsuit The Montana National Guard brigadier general who ordered an investigation into the state's Disaster and Emergency Services was fired last year after he rehired a woman who was suing the state over her dismissal from the troubled agency.
"I didn't know anything about this, but there was a person hired by you that was involved in a wrongful discharge lawsuit with the state, this person is suing the state and the governor (Schweitzer) just felt that this was disloyal. So, but be that as it may, he is not going to do anything about this," Bohlinger said in the recording.
March 25, 2013 AP The report was made public Feb. 27 after a legislative panel threatened to subpoena the department and the report's author to produce the study. Members of the appropriations subcommittee expressed disbelief at the report's conclusion. Read More
Comment by BSTP: This Climate Survey was commissioned by Gen Cusker in May of 2012, paid for with taxpayer dollars, only reported verbally with no written report and two legislators requested the report shortly after Gen Cusker was dismissed. A "summary" was finally produced when the Local Government Legislative Committee took the step to subpoena the report. The document is now public information, it was presented in the Local Government Committee Hearing on February 27. 2013. (Climate Survey PDF)
Perhaps the legislators need the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION HOTLINE
March 22, 2013 HELENA — Former Montana Disaster and Emergency Services employees claim the division's chief of staff traded sex for favoritism with a subordinate, and that those who complained were met with hostility and ultimately forced out of their jobs. Read more:
February 10, 2013 Former MT DES employee sues for wrongful termination Monique Lay, the former public information officer at Montana Disaster & Emergency Services (DES), has filed a lawsuit against multiple agencies and individuals, including the State of Montana Department of Military Affairs. In court documents, Lay claims wrongful discharge, actual malice, and bad faith action by defendants for terminating her employment and refusing to hire her for other positions after nearly 22 years of employment.
October 29, 2012 Report: Montana Disaster and Emergency Services misclassified $7MA lack of accounting experience and human error resulted in the misclassification of nearly $7 million in expenditures made by the state’s Disaster and Emergency Services, according to a report released this month by a legislative audit committee. Committee members, who met last week after conducting a financial compliance audit on the Montana Department of Military Affairs, under which DES operates, also found that the agency had done a poor job recruiting and selecting qualified employees. Read More
May 14, 2012 HELENA - Brig. Gen. Joel D. Cusker, director of the joint staff of the Montana National Guard, and who had served as acting adjutant general for five weeks last spring, told Montana Watchdog he has been dismissed from his post. He said on April 19 he was issued a notice of “involuntary separation” from Brig. Gen. Matthew Quinn, the adjutant general for the state, who said he had deliberated for some time. Read More
April 6, 2012 Step III Grievance Monique Lay PDF
Comment by BSTP: Just an observation, but it appears DES does indeed need the Public Information Officer who was laid off.
March 23, 2012 HELENA – A March 20 e-mail to emergency coordinators throughout the state saying that nearly $5.7 million in Homeland Security Funds were “frozen” prompted an explanation Wednesday to two state representatives, saying the funds are not being held back and the author was trying to explain to the providers that applications were not detailed enough. Angie Mullikin, a program manager with Disaster and Emergency Services (DES), now says that as of May 21, “all holds on FFY 2011 funds have been released.” Read More
December 16, 2011 Federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit Sample Findings of Montana DES.
January 2011 State Audit PDF