Monday, January 3, 2011

Fireworks at Montana PSC

The Montana Legislature convened on Monday with Democrats and Republicans exchanging hugs and handshakes on the House floor.

The same can not be said for the Montana Public Service Commission, where an impasse among the body’s Republican members has lead to an interesting procedural conundrum and some heated words between two GOP commission members.

Travis Kavulla presented fellow Republican Brad Molnar with a proposed “Chairman’s Code of Conduct,” a list of nine conditions that Molnar would have to agree to in order to get Kavulla’s vote for chairmanship.

Here’s what transpired in the PSC meeting room between votes when Kavulla asked Molnar if he was willing to negotiate. I hit the record button late and missed the most “colorful” parts of the exchange:

PSC Commissioner Brad Molnar, left, argues with newly-elected commissioner Travis Kavulla between commission votes for chairman.

I’ll update more later. The meeting is in recess until 2:50.

You can watch live when the PSC reconvenes.

UPDATE: After repeatedly failing to elect a new chairman, the commission recessed until Tuesday. In a surprising turn of events, Travis Kavulla nominated himself for the post. The panel voted 4-1 against Kavulla.

The breakdown on repeated votes was as follows:

Gallagher nominated Molnar. Gallagher and Molnar voted yes, Gutsche and Vincent voted no, Kavulla abstained.

Vincent nominated Gutsche. Vincent and Gutsche voted yes, Gallagher, Molnar and Kavulla voted no.

Kavulla repeatedly nominated Gallagher. Gallagher repeatedly declined the nomination.

Kavulla then nominated himself. Kavulla voted yes, Gallagher, Molnar, Vincent and Gutsche voted no.

And so we pick this up again tomorrow!

Here’s the “Code of Conduct” that Kavulla wants Molnar to agree to and sign in order for Molnar to secure Kavulla’s vote for the PSC Chairmanship. Sorry about the poor quality but I had to take a photo of it with my phone.

When presented with the document, Molnar responded, in front of myself and Lee Newspapers reporter Mike Dennison, that he “would be the biggest lowlife motherf***er who ever climbed out from under a rock," if he signed Kavulla's list of demands.

UPDATE: Molnar presented this “Kavulla Karta” to reporters after the exchange above. Who said the PSC isn’t exciting? 


david said...

Whoa...things getting started with a bang this time around, it appears. Good job capturing this exchange, John.

Anonymous said...

I think you can get it off their stream, which is now archived, if you boost up the audio.

Anonymous said...

Good for Kavulla. Molnar is an absolute loose cannon, who cannot be trusted to lead the PSC. I am a Democrat, but must admire Kavulla for not following in lock-step with his party. Molnar is a disaster.

M said...

This legislative session is starting off right, glad to see a little sparring so soon. Both of these guys are douches, though Kavula with his Code of Conduct seems the more douchier of the two. Keep up the good reporting.

david said...

John - Kavulla knew the recorder was going - was Molnar aware, or did he just not care?

Anonymous said...

Travis has zero experience- probably a RHINO. Molnar is very smart- you may not like him but he knows his stuff. Please do not censor comments you don't like.

Unknown said...

above the political message of the code of ethics, I think Kavulla is trying to get Molnar to respect the office of PSC, I would be interested in hearing if any reporters asked the staff how they are being treated there.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if Kavulla signed the "Kavulla Karta"?

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