Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ethics official resigns amid allegations

The state's top elections and ethics enforcement official resigned late Tuesday amid allegations that he improperly used his state office and computer to conduct private law practice business on state time.

Commissioner of Political Practices Dave Gallik told the Tribune that he informed Gov. Brian Schweitzer of his decision to resign after learning that his staff in the commissioner's office called the police Tuesday.

Gallik said he did not know why the staff called police while he was out of the office.

The Tribune on Sunday reported allegations made by all four members of the commissioner's office that Gallik was fudging state time sheets and logging state pay for hours spent working on private practice matters, a charge Gallik denied.

Tuesday marked the first business day the commissioner's office was open following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the publican of allegations in Sunday's Great Falls Tribune.

Gallik said he "did not say one word" to his staff on Tuesday when he arrived at the office.

"I can't afford to have more false accusations. They're calling the cops and I didn't say a word," Gallik said in an interview shortly after telling the governor that he planned to resign.

Gallik called his staff's accusations against him "a political, Republican-based fight against me."

In a series of interviews with the Tribune the commissioner’s staff claimed Gallik regularly used state resources to conduct his private practice. They alleged that Gallik was logging hours on the state payroll when he was actually out of the office and working on private practice business. Gallik denied the allegations and said he often did commissioner's work from his private office.

The attorney representing the four members of the commissioner's staff did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

For more read tomorrow's Great Falls Tribune.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your reporting on this. Thanks for your responses on the sites that have allowed such vicious attacks on the staff and on state employees in general. You're an excellent reporter, and I've enjoyed your reports on Cowgirl, on Tim Ravndal, on the hearing on the retrial, and more. It's clear to me you're paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, you are a great reporter and it is obvious that people trust you with some very sensitive information. Here is an independent perspective on this issue: most politicans make an honest effort to make a difference to the people of this great state. There are only a select few who choose to break the rules and then attack the people who catch them with their hands in the cookie jar and it happens on both sides of the aisle. We all need to remember that just because one individual makes bad choices it does not mean that an entire class of people should be held accountable for that individuals mistakes.This issue shouldn't be a political party issue, this should be an issue of one man who made poor choices. Think of this analogy, if one midget robs a bank, does that mean all midgets are bank robbers, I don't think so. Quit making these whistle blowers out to be paranoid monsters and get back to the real issue at hand.

Anonymous said...

This is hypothetical: Say you got in some trouble and you could go to prison. You needed to hire an attorney. Now a days, you pay $250 an hour. You were billed for ten hours of work by your attorney, that would be $2500.00. Oh yah, I forgot to mention he had a second job, he charged them for 4 to 8 hours. How would you know if he was charging you correctly? Especially when there was nothing to show for the ten hours of work you would have been charged for. Now a days all legal forms are on computer. One of these jobs is going to suffer. 10 to 18 hours of working two jobs both of them mentally exhauting can not benefit you if you should happen to go to jail.
This is what came to my mind when I read this article. Someone was not getting their money's worth. Think about this $250.00 an hour to what did he say $27.00 an hour. Hmm which would YOU choose..

Anonymous said...

Mr. Adams has done an excellent job reporting this very serious issue. It is good to know the legislature also takes this issue seriously and is going to investigate the allegations. As stated in the article, these women tried EVERY avenue within state government to address their concerns - to no avail. They put themselves at great risk by coming forward and publicly disclosing their concerns that the chief ethics enforcement officer may be violating the very statutes he was supposed to uphold. I don't know about you, but I want to know that my tax dollars are being spent as intended - on government work - NOT to increase billable hours in someone's private law practice! Kudos to these women for their honesty and integrity. And Kudos to Mr. Adams for his professionalism. If it weren't for him, we might never have known the real story.

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