Unanimous vote suspends Stamey without pay


HAMILTON, Mont. - At a meeting Wednesday afternoon Ravalli County Commissioners voted to suspend appointed treasurer Valerie Stamey.

That suspension will be immediate and Stamey will not be paid.

She landed in hot water after not depositing County money, paying its bills or balancing the books. The County's budget needs to be trimmed by about one million dollars by 2016.

The Ravalli County Commission had previously asked Stamey to resign, or deal with being suspended without pay. It was a unanimous decision, as was Wednesday's decision.

Stamey, who was appointed to her interim position back in September, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Neither Stamey, nor her attorney Robert Meyers, were at Wednesday's meeting.

Myers spoke with NBC Motnana after the meeting.

"They used Valerie in total as a distraction so people wouldn't look at what they have not done. and what they have been doing wrong ," said Meyers.

Meyers tells NBC Montana he expected the decision, and says the Ravalli County government has been using the situation to send a message.

"You will be punished if you dare try to bring light to what they have done," said Meyers.

The meeting gave commissioners another chance to address the public about the whole situation. Commissioner Greg Chilcott called the situation an arduous process, and one that has tested the County greatly.

"[The Treasurers' office was] in a general state of disarray. We found nearly a million dollars strewn about her office in box tops and piles and envelopes," said Chilcott.

Commissioner J.R. Iman said the situation was a difficult one, and that it was time to end it and go on with making the Ravalli County government whole again.

"Obviously, negative things happened but the process goes on," said Iman.

Commissioners are now tasked with figuring out how to fill Stamey's position. They can carry out an application process or simply appoint someone. They've set a meeting to discuss the matter for 2:30 pm next Wednesday.