Jim Kephart
Against Waste - Fraud - Abuse
In Order to Revitalize & Grow our Community

Contact Info
URA Housing Scam
Phoenix Building
Sidewalk Scam
URA Parking Garage Scam 1
URA Parking Garage Scam 2
URA Property
Tax Scam
URA Financial Reporting & Audit Scam
URA Administrative Expense & Funds Scam
What Can The URA Do For Butte?
Economic Development
Butte-Silver Bow 
& MT State
Legislative Items
Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners Reform
(right-click to download if not viewable)
Jim Kephart
Resume & Bio


The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted to the Montana Standard regarding proposed changes to the BSB Council of Commissioners.  The letter and plan were submitted in response to suggested changes by BSB Council Members and other County Officials.

March 25, 2020



With all due respect to Messrs. Lienemann, Fisher, et al, this “plan” is at odds with the tried and true experience of other towns (and prior BSB proposals). It deserves harsh criticism.

Yes, Council should be reduced to 5-but 4 should be geographically based. Only the 5th should be at large. THAT one should be Chair automatically…by VOTE of us all, not by continuing the current “popularity contest” for Chair. 

A city manager is good thing. But there MUST still be an elected C.E.O., with the usual “executive branch” powers (veto over Council, signing of all bills etc.) Manager should be selected by nationwide search (not another Courthouse/Council “crony”) AND be subject to review, even dismissal, by BOTH Council and the CEO. The latter is able to veto, the former is able to override, and the COURTS are available for resolution.

Additional reforms are needed. Council members should get REAL pay and expense monies-to do a REAL job. All should have small inexpensive offices (4 in their districts) and have some required regular hours for constituent needs and visits. In addition, Council needs independent legal counsel (supposedly already required by BSB Charter-but ignored) and their own forensic CPA for “fraudits” (and more). With these, Council can finally have the means to stand up to/question/challenge our CEO, County Attorney, Economic Development Head, Budget Director and others. Currently, Council has too many members- all “outgunned”.

Council’s oversight responsibility MUST be restored, under force of law if necessary, including Council-manic hearings seeking SWORN answers (esp. on spending). Further, with 4 geographic Councilpersons, we could finally do some community-based budgeting (again, like other towns). Obviously, the needs of Uptown are different from Flats and from rural areas. Nevertheless, The Standard used to survey our collective budgeting priorities, and they were ALWAYS different from Council and CEO. For example, all of us (even rural) consistently support more money for BSB owned Mother Lode Theater (starting with fire safety needs) and our Uptown Arts district. Frankly, those surveys of the public showed a LOT more sense about our spending than Council ever has: hence the need for community-based budgeting (and real public INPUT at 4 district home offices).

Last, but not least, we also need to give our CEO a serious economic development guru-also after nationwide search, and with real salary and expense monies (and subject to set GOALS). 

It’s true that all of this would “cost” us several hundred $K more (out of $125-175M/yr.) rather than “saving” $100K by eliminating executive branch. Here I would point out: a) the millions in obvious waste by Council each year, and b) my Aunt Rosalie’s warning about “watching it at the tap and letting it flow at the pump”. Enough said.


Copyright © 2019-23  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Jim Kephart