HAMILTON, Mont. - Ravalli County has appointed a new interim treasurer to replace Valerie Stamey, the embattled appointee, removed from office on official misconduct charges.
County elections supervisor, Regina Plettenberg, now carries the official title of interim treasurer, until the November elections.
Her name is familiar.
She has overseen the office through Stamey's departure and two investigations.
Commissioners voted 3 to 1 to appoint Plettenberg, and to give her a $300 a month stipend, until voters decide on a permanent treasurer in the fall election.
"I think my role moving forward," said Plettenberg,"is going to continue to help with the structure and personnel in the office."
Commissioners voted 3 to 1 to appoint the elections supervisor.
Suzy Foss wanted to appoint Dan Whitesitt, who has been working under Plettenberg in the office.
He won the Republican nomination in the treasurer's race.
He said he did not want to disrupt the election between himself, and the Democratic contender Mary Kay Browning.
Of Plettenberg's appointment, "I think it's a good decision," said Whitesitt.
Mary Kay Browning agreed.
"It's been running pretty smoothly," she said, "and I think it will keep on running that way for awhile, anyway."
Browning is a past county treasurer in Ravalli County, a post that she held for years.
Commissioner Greg Chilcott supported Plettenberg's appointment.
"The office has been under a lot of stress the last six months," he said."I believe another change would add other stress to the load."
Commissioners said the next step is to discuss hiring another temporary or full time employee to help out in that office.
So far, the $29,000 lawsuit the county filed against Stamey hasn't been heard.
Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said the suit can't go forward until the former interim treasurer receives a summons.
Fulbright said law enforcement hasn't yet "been successful in making personal contact" with Stamey to give it to her.
"As with any lawsuit," he said, "until she's actually personally served it is in limbo."
We also did some research into how much Stamey's rocky tenure has cost the county.
County records show it exceeds $100,000.
Of that total, an independent investigation into the treasurer's office by a Butte accounting firm has cost $63,000.
Other costs included payment and expenses for a retired Beaverhead County treasurer to set the books straight, plus other employee overtime.