(Montana Journal) Montana’s public service commissioner voted 4-1 to hire former Republican congressman Brad Tschida, according to a PSC staff attorney.
Chief counsel Lucas Hamilton said the opponent was President Jim Brown.
The all-Republican committee that oversees Montana’s monopoly utility has restructured to hire an executive director after a questionable audit released in the spring of 2021. The first director only stayed for a year before leaving in the summer of 2022.
Brown declined to comment on why he voted against Zida. The press release announcing the hire included a statement of praise from the vice president and another commissioner, but nothing from Brown.
During a brief call this week, Brown declined to comment. However, he voluntarily confirmed that he had cast a “no vote”.
“The information provided by Mr Hamilton is correct,” Brown said.
Last year, with encouragement from Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, Brown ran for Montana Supreme Court justice, but lost to incumbent Ingrid Gustafson.
Zidah, who served four terms in the Montana legislature before losing a game in 2022, has become a controversial figure of late. He accused the Missoula County elections office of wrongdoing, but local Republicans said a review found the election to be safe.
Sometimes, people vote to send a message, such as split decisions on an all-Republican board, said political analyst Lee Banville.
“In my mind, Jim Brown is sending a message,” Montana’s Banville said. “The complication is that I don’t think any of us can translate what he said.”
Hamilton said the human resources office told him that between the summer and December, 10 people applied for the executive director job.