Retired District Court Judge Nels Swandal released his report on Thursday, April 10, regarding the charges made by and against Valerie Stamey and the Ravalli County Treasurer's Office.

 

photo by Jon King

In his report, Swandal examined the appointment of Valerie Stamey to the treasurer's office. He found that Ms. Stamey had a superior interview, and "her resume and application were impressive and showed years of experience in government procurement and accounting." He added that the commissioners made the best choice they could "with the information they were given."

Swandal went on to report that if a truly thorough financial background check had been completed, "Ms. Stamey's problems in South Carolina , which are well-documented", would have been disclosed, and "the vote would undoubtedly have been different."

photo by Steve Fullerton

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said he was grateful for Judge Swandal's thoroughness in his investigation.

"He notes that, as has been the history in Ravalli County, the applicants were put through a criminal background check," Fulbright said. "He put forward a good fix that has been discussed for quite awhile now that the applicants for this position should certainly go through a full background check like we do with a number of departments, including in my office."

Fulbright also noted that Judge Swandal found no criminal activity in his report by county commissioners or the staff at the treasurer's office.

"In the various areas that Judge Swandal investigated, there's no evidence that there's any criminal conduct going on," Fulbright said. "Of course, we're going to await any information from the FBI investigation, if they were able to uncover additional evidence or other items that might violate state criminal code, then we will pursue that. However, at this time, Judge Swandal's investigation has turned over no evidence that any criminal conduct was going on."

Fulbright said all these investigations and audits are being done to assure the citizens of Ravalli County that everything possible is being done to return confidence in county government.

"The process isn't done yet, with the audit, but we're doing everything we can to make this open to the light of day," Fulbright said. "I really think that's important for the taxpaying citizens here in Ravalli County to know that their tax monies are accounted for, that these public offices are open for inspection and run properly, and that all the funds and monies are accounted for."

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright