by MONTANA NEWS ASSOCIATION
Billings Mt.,Aug 26, 2008--/MNA PRESS/--Billings Mayor Ron Tussing has had four ethics violations complaints filed against him, with the Billings Board of Ethics. A letter, signed by over 100 citizens, was sent to Judge Russell Fagg, in his capacity as Chair of the Billings Board of Ethics. The four complaints pertain to potential breaches of duty allegedly committed by Ron Tussing in his official capacity as mayor.
According to Montana Code Annotated 2-2-121, public officers are prohibited from using public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to solicit support for, or opposition to, local ballot issues. The letter to Judge Fagg outlines four potential issues, in which Ron Tussing may be in violation of Montana State law. Ron Tussing, in his official capacity of mayor, is a member of the Celebrate Billings steering committee and as such, actively campaigned for and supported the passage of the 2006 Billings Ballpark Bond Issue and the 2007 School District 2 Mill Levy. Mayor Tussing also campaigned against the 2006 Repeal of the 2004 Public Safety Mill Levy.
The complainants allege that Mayor Ron Tussing used Billings City time, facilities, equipment and supplies in support for, and opposition to, these ballot issues. The complainants attached over thirty (30) evidentiary exhibits, in support of their claims.
The Billings Board of Ethics will meet to review the complaints. The complainants have requested that all members of the board, who have been appointed by Ron Tussing, be recused from the review process. The complainants also have requested that Victoria Cech, whose husband serves on the Celebrate Billings Steering Committee with Ron Tussing, be recused, as well.
If the Board substantiates the complaints, the next step is to refer the complaints to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s office. The county attorney may then launch investigations into the alleged breaches of duty and fine Ron Tussing between $50 and $1,000, for each substantiated violation.
Ron Tussing is running against Brad Molnar for Public Service Commission District 2.