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Montana Politics

Gallik Resigns As Story Gets Stranger

Dave Gallik has resigned as the Commissioner of Political Practices, reports John Adams and the Lee papers.

I suspect that more of the story of going to come out over the next few days and weeks, but I have to say that, while I don’t have reason to question anyone’s integrity, there are a couple of elements of the story that certainly deserve clarification.

The AP reported today that staff members at the Commissioner’s office called the police today, despite the fact that Gallik had not spoken to any of them. All other accusations aside, there has to be a damn good reason for someone to call the police into an office—and I hope someone presses for an explanation.

That the four staffers at the center of the story felt the need to get legal representation to speak for them today also struck me as strange.

And then there was this element in John Adams’ original story, which never sat quite right with me:

According to his staff, Gallik regularly leaves his computer on, logged in, unattended and unsecured for long periods of time when he leaves the office, which is a violation of the state’s computer workstation policy.

Every member of the commissioner’s staff said they’ve regularly seen emails on his computer related to his private practice. They said they’ve also seen private-­practice case files on his desk in the commissioner’s office.

I work in an environment with a lot of shared space and computer resources, and unless part of these staffers jobs was to share Mr. Gallik’s computer, that section is certainly suggestive of people of who were taking more than a passing interest in his work. When a colleague leaves a computer workstation unattended at school, I can’t imagine once taking the time to look closely enough at e-mail to discern its subject matter, much repeatedly.

Bottom line: Gallik’s resigned—and the accusations against him may well prove to be entirely true. If so, his resignation is appropriate. But the accusers also need to face public scrutiny as well—and today’s decision to call the HPD is an example of something that demands further explanation.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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  • Trial by innuendo in the press is emminently unfair and un-American. Again, I need to know motive. What was the motive for these four to act the way they did? What are their political connections and afiliations? I've got some real good hunches as to who would put these people up to this. Unfortunately, this reflects on a certian element in Helena now. Gone are the good old days of working together in good faith. I think that Gallik was indeed working in good faith, but his underlings were not. That was his fatal mistake.

  • The detail about the computer did strike me as odd. I have on occasion also left my computer open when I ought not have, and I understand the need for policies against it. But I also generally stop myself from looking so closely at other people's screens that I can see what they are doing. My general rule? If I look at someone's screen long enough to tell they are not doing their job, I'm not really doing mine, either.

    However this turns out, it does seem likely that the story will get more complicated; either the accuser or the accused, or both, seems to be up to more than is apparent.

    • Ooooh boy! I've always like winter because there are no snakes. But not THIS winter! The snakes are out in force! This entire affair has Tea Party written all OVER it! Let's review the facts:

      In today's Spitoon, it seems that NOW, the "ladies" were concerned about Gallik's relationship with Schweitzer's office. Hmmmm. Hmmm. Any RATIONAL person MIGHT have maye suspected that THOSE concerns were important enough to be placed in the INITIAL "news" story. But not adams! Why? Seems the "ladies" are grasping now. cont.

      • But I started to suspect when I read that the "ladies" were concerned about the next election cycle! Why? Why would these "ladies" be SO concerned about a damaging audit BEFORE the election cycle??? Politics maybe? Nah, COULDN'T be!
        The other thing that bothered me was the Tea Party Language they used. Gallik was "stealing" from the state??? What the hell did he steal?? Time?? For a salaried employee? Stealing time?? Nonsense! Straight Teatard express talk! He "stole" nothing! And it was NOT their place to critique his job performance! Where is THAT in a classified "lady's" job description? Hint. It ain't!

        • And finally, I see that Mike Mealworm and the entire Teatard party are JUMPIN' all over this! These "ladies" and their willing and complicit "reporter", a guy who's had MANY run ins with the current guv, HANDED on a golden Tea saucer a giant ridiculous NON-scandal to the reetard TEAtards, just before election time! Now, this thing is a scandal alright, a JOURNALISTIC scandal! Dude moves here from wisconsin, knows not a sould nor anything about Montana, and immediately starts in with garbage reporting! THERE is your real scandal! The GF Spitoon should be REAL proud of their yellow journalism! How bout a nice series now on HOW a SALARIED employee is STEALING whilest the "ladies" are calling the cops! What horsecrap!

          • Yes, I agree on one point though. There ARE some people that need to lose their jobs. Beginning with the "ladies" and adams! You see, as a great letter to the ed in today's Spitoon said, this is NOT "their" office! These "ladies" did inDEED go native! They are classified folks who GOT the impression that THEY'RE the bosses! All four of them! They need to be fired immediately! And I suspect that THEY suspect that they will. Hence the liarwyer for their LAWSUIT! It's GOOD to be a Teatard! And adams should be fired for being a lousy reporter. I mean, how COULD a "reporter" overLOOK the most important allegations of the story?? The Spitoon is a joke, as is adams.

  • Nosing through your boss's e-mail. Only ONE word comes to mind! (no, Pogie, not nutcutters) but PROFESSIONAL! I mean, these "ladies" are the most professional folks I have ever seen! I mean, what's NOT to like about folks who hire a liarwyer in anticiPATION of a lawsuit?! Very professional! And call the COPS on your boss?! Very professional! And change their story to suit the outcry?! VERY professional! And spy on e-mails?! VERY professional! These "ladies" got it all! Who HASN'T called the cops on their boss? Or hired a liarwyer to get ready for a wrongful discharge lawsuit? These ladies might NOT exactly be called whistleblowers in the accurate sense, but by GOD they blew it!

  • Just who oversees the Commission on Political Practices? I'm having a hard time figuring out who the commissioner answers to. Both the Trib's and Lee's stories don't answer this question. For example (from the Missoulian story):

    (Attorney General) Bullock, however, said Tuesday that state law outlines procedures for any complaints against the political practices commissioner or how a commissioner would be removed, and that his office has no "official role" in those steps.

    "For now, it is appropriate to allow those charged with this responsibility to decide how they are going to move forward," he said in a statement.

    And I ask, "who would those people be?" A state senate committee? The governor? It's going to be hard to get to the bottom of this if there isn't some nonpartisan branch of government or independent investigator looking into this mess.

  • I answer some of your questions in my story today, Don:
    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20120118

    The women said they did not call the police, but reported to the Capitol security that things were "tense" in the office and they wanted to give them a "heads up" in case anything did happen. They didn't file a report. They didn't make a complaint. They said Gallik's temper has been increasing short in the past few months/weeks that Tuesday was the first day back in the office since the story ran on Sunday, and they wanted to let them know in case they did have reason to call later.

    As for the computer question: Gallik enlisted the help of some of the staff to help him with his computer last summer, the staff told me. That's when they first saw the private work e-mails. After that, Gallik consistently left his computer on. It's a small office. Once they knew he was doing private work in his office, and was gone for long periods of time, they began to document his misuse of state resources. They also logged what time he came in and out of the office every day.

    As for their hiring of a lawyer…any state employee who felt their job would be at risk from retaliation for blowing the whistle on what they believed was unethical and illegal behavior would be wise to seek legal counsel. To suggest this is a conspiracy is to ignore the facts. Find me an elected Democrat or campaign treasurer, lobbyist or anyone else who has ever dealt with that office who will tell you these staff are in cahoot with the GOP. Because I've been looking and I haven't found one.

    Believe it or not, I do vet facts before I go to press. I do research on sources before I report on their claims. That's my job. I had no reason to not believe the information that these staffer told me was true. The documentation was solid. The facts lined up. Thus I reported them.

    Nobody seemed to think I was a Tea Party tool back when I broke the story about Tim Ravndal's facebook comments alluding to the death of Matthew Shepard. In fact, Mr. Kralj e-mailed me and very cordially commended me on my great reporting. But now I'm a hack for the Republicans and the Tea Party? Please…

    I know responding here is an exercise in futility as far as Larry is concerned, but for anyone else reading this comment, I hope you see that I'm trying to answer some of the questions you have about my reporting on this story. If you log on to the Tribune's website and comment there I'll answer further questions if I can. It makes more sense to keep all the information in one place.

    This is my last post on the subject at ID.

    • Before one decides to do a story or MURDOCHian proportions out of whole cloth, there better damn well be some extreme seriousness to the charges that could possibly do some REAL harm somewhere. And I see none in your piece. A salaried employee not reporting all his time in a manner to satisfy his underlings HARDLY rises to the level of extreme malfeasance! And that appears to be what we have here. Sorry, but that is NOT "stealing". These "ladies" are NOT charged with writing performance reviews for their boss as far as I know, nor are they to decide just what is stealing in a legal sense. If something has been stolen, PRODUCE it for a court of law! This is utter nonsense. And poor journalism. In the current volatile climate after the last Lege, just what the hell did you THINK would happen with such a BS story? What good can come from a whiney story?

      • Nothing about this story makes sense. Gallik TRUSTED his employees enough to allow them to view his computer, and actually work on it, and he even left it on when gone in plain view, yet they SUSPECTED their boss of doing something illegal?? Yeah right! Again, Gallik was operating in good faith because he had NOTHING to hide! It was the "ladies" who ginned up this controversy! Sounds to me like Gallik was a good boss who misplaced his TRUST in these "ladies"! My GOD, man! How many people do YOU know who are doing something illegal and ASK their employees to work on their computers?? Hell, I wouldn't even do that! Too much porno!

  • But I will say one thing. There IS a story in here somewhere! Well, not actually a story, but a FANTASTIC episode of Undercover Boss! You see, it goes like this. Gallik dresses up in drag and pretends to be a new girl in the office. The other "ladies" show him the ropes! "Over here is where we spy on the bosses e-mails! And over here is our hotline to the cops in case the boss goes crazy or sumthin'! Oh and that phone? That's our direct line to the GF Spitoon, a paper SO stoopid that they'll print anything! And BTW, later today we're meeting with our liarwyer just in CASE anybody finds out just how goofy we are! You'll just LUV workin' here, 'cause we run this place like our own! Come to think of it, it IS!"

    Great tv, no?! Of COURSE it is!

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