Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:25 am
The Bridger Canyon Rural Fire District board chairman has been officially recalled after a recount of ballots from the May 6 election.
The recount, conducted by Gallatin County Commissioners on Friday morning, confirmed Mike Conn was recalled 195-194.
“I’m not terribly surprised,” Conn said. “It is what it is. We’ll go from there.”
According to the fire district’s bylaws, the County Commission will appoint Conn’s replacement, who will sit until the next regularly scheduled election. Trustees are elected to three-year terms.
Eight supporters of Conn were at the hour-long recount, which took place in the county courthouse in Bozeman. One person from the opposition attended.
Conn said he would continue to serve as the volunteer fire department’s training officer.
“I’ll stay on at the pleasure of the chief. It’s up to him,” Conn said after the recount.
Voters in the May 6 election decided the fates for each of the board’s five trustees individually. Conn was the only board member to be recalled.
Trustees Colleen Carnine (189 votes for recall, 198 against), Margaret Foster (165 for, 205 against), Dennis Guentzel (149 for, 219 against) and Dave McKee (169 for, 216 against) kept their seats.
During a canvass of the election, the Gallatin County Commission unanimously agreed to recount Conn’s recall because of the one vote margin. After a quiet hour of counting and recounting ballots in the county courthouse, the commission voted unanimously again – this time to accept the results of the recount.
For more than a year, a group of Bridger Canyon residents known as the Bridger Canyon Fire District Safety Coalition campaigned to remove the entire board, alleging violations of the public’s trust and Montana’s open meetings law.
“I’m glad to see that it worked out exactly the same way it was originally counted,” said John Maloney, the coalition’s representative at the recount. Maloney has applied to replace Conn.
“As far as I know the coalition is supporting me, but it is up to the county commissioners to decide,” Maloney said.