UPDATE – Ravalli County Treasurer Placed on Paid Leave – Office Secured [AUDIO]
UPDATE - 4 p.m. Thursday, January 23
After a public meeting with the Ravalli County Commissioners, County Attorney Bill Fulbright announced that County Treasurer Valerie Stamey has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of two investigations.
"At the conclusion of the meeting this morning, that stretched into the afternoon, the board of county commissioners unanimously voted to place Ms. Stamey on administrative leave with pay," Fulbright said. "There was a lot of comment by both the commissioners and the public expressing dismay over the state of events in the treasurer's office."
Fulbright said Ms. Stamey's office and records have been secured pending the investigations announced on Wednesday.
"There have been some steps taken to ensure the physical security of the office and the files and records, as well as the electronic records," Fulbright said. "In addition, a meeting later this afternoon will help determine the interim leadership of the treasurer's office in Ms. Stamey's absence. The treasurer is an elected office, but Ms. Stamey was appointed to the office by the commissioners on an interim basis until the next election."
Fulbright said Ms. Stamey was invited to the meeting, but did not attend, and that she has obtained legal counsel to represent her interests.
"We did receive a letter from an attorney this morning purporting to represent Ms. Stamey, and we have no reason to believe he does not, so I believe she is represented by a local attorney here in Hamilton by the name of Rob Myers," Fulbright said.
Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright
On Tuesday, January 21, Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey leveled serious charges of corruption against several commissioners and county officials.
On Wednesday, Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fullbright sent a letter to the commissioners announcing that he will be launching a two-part investigation into the various allegations made by Ms. Stamey, as well as charges and allegations leveled against Ms. Stamey, herself.
"As the County Attorney and Auditor, I've decided that it has now become necessary to launch a two-part investigation," Fullbright said. "These will be investigations conducted by independent entities who are neither affiliated with my office or Ravalli County."
Fullbright outlined the two aspects of the investigation.
"First of all, there will be a full audit of the stare of accounts, deposits, funds and financial records of the treasurer's office, which will be conducted by an independent auditor qualified to audit governmental accounts," Fullbright said. "Secondly, there will also be an investigation into all allegations that were made during Tuesday's public meeting by Ms. Stamey."
Fullbright acknowledged that the cost of the investigations would be borne by the taxpayers of Ravalli County, and that he would be meeting with the commissioners at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the issues and answer questions.
"In accord with any public meeting the county commissioners hold, somewhere toward the end of the agenda, there's always a time for public comment," Fullbright said. "Our current chairman, Commissioner Chilcott, does not ordinarily limit the time people can speak, unless it's apparent there's such an overwhelming number of comments that they try to strike some sort of limitation or balance."
The meeting will be on the fourth floor of the Ravalli County Administration building, and will be open to the public.
Fullbright said despite the controversy, the business of government must continue in order to serve the citizens of Ravalli County.
Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fullbright