Mountain Water employees want party status in condemnation lawsuit


MISSOULA, Mont. - A group of Mountain Water Company employees filed a Motion to Intervene in the condemnation case filed by the City of Missoula to acquire Mountain Water Company.

According to a press release from Gary Zadick, an attorney representing the 38 employees, the motion, filed Wednesday, states that the city has failed to join the employees in its condemnation lawsuit, and asks that they be granted status as a party having protected rights and interests.

"The employees are a hard-working group of Missoula residents, who have dedicated their careers to providing exemplary water service to the Missoula community," said Zadick. "They are concerned in what the condemnation of Mountain Water's assets could mean to their jobs and their ongoing abilities to serve their community. They should be given a voice in this process."

Missoula Mayor John Engen has said in the past that if the city acquires Mountain Water, its employees would keep their jobs and receive comparable pay, but Zadick says the employees want more details and guarantees.

"We'll have a seat at the table and be able to ask the city, 'Are you going to lay anybody off? Are you going to reduce the number of employees? Are you going to reduce wages and benefits? What about our retirement? How will that roll over? How about accrued vacation?' All of those things," said Zadick.

The mayor's office declined to comment on the motion until lawyers could review it.