There are two Missoula Justice Court divisions in the courthouse. JP 1 is Judge Marie Andersen, while JP 2 is Landee Holloway.

An assessment of Judge Andersen was recently completed by an outside attorney, Marie Puiggari, prompted by the high employee turnover rate in Judge Andersen’s court. Chris Lounsbury, Missoula County’s Chief Operating Officer explains.

“The (County) Commission is most concerned about the fact that there seems to not be a consistent office manager presence that’s been able to provide the supervision, oversight and training that the Justice Court staff has needed,” said Lounsbury. “They are also concerned about some of the things related to the recycling policy that the judge currently has. The purpose is to minimize the impact on the staff and make sure they have the ability to provide the services that the public needs.”

“Of course Judge Andersen is a publicly elected official and the commission, as part of the executive branch does not want to interfere with the operation of her courtroom, but the county does have an obligation to the staff, and so we’ll be looking through the commission’s office to help provide that training, supervision and oversight related to the employees which falls under the part of the court that the commissioners control.”

Other complaints reported to the commission include walking the Judge’s dog and feeding the kittens during office hours. Also, that the Judge is frequently absent or is late for work, forcing hearings to be rescheduled.

The cost of the assessment has so far been nearly $4,000.

Lounsbury said a letter has been sent to Judge Andersen outlining the commission’s concerns.