Montana PSC in talks with ex-Missoula lawmaker Tschida for director job

Montana PSC in talks with ex-Missoula lawmaker Tschida for director job
Montana PSC in talks with ex-Missoula lawmaker Tschida for director job

Former lawmaker Brad Tschida confirmed Friday that he was in talks with the Montana Public Service Commission to accept a position as the next executive director.

Tschida, a Republican from Missoula, said he didn’t accept an offer but weighed several factors.

For example, he said his wife is retired and he has been semi-retired for several years. He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to take on the role at the same time that his wife wouldn’t be working.

Tschida lost an election for a state Senate seat this year to Democrat Willis Curdy. Curdy got 54% of the vote against 46% for Tschida.

According to Legislative Services, Tschida has served as a state representative for the past four sessions and was House Majority Leader in 2019.

He was a top critic of the Missoula County Office of Elections and alleged wrongdoing in the 2020 election, according to Missoulian newspaper information.

Missoula County commissioners asked him to take his claims to court if he felt his claims had merit, but Tschida did not, the newspaper reported.

The Missoula County Republican Party conducted its own review of the process, and the president told the Montana Free Press in April that voters should have full confidence in local election results.

In 2019, the state of Montana agreed to pay Tschida nearly $75,000 in legal fees related to a public records case, according to MTN News.

Tschida had challenged a law that prevented the disclosure of ethical complaints against state officials. He did so after the Political Practices Commissioner said he broke the law by speaking out about his later dismissed 2016 allegations against former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

MTN News reported that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law Tschida allegedly broke and described it as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

This year, Tschida made national news following the Dobbs ruling that struck down abortion protections in Roe v. Wade when he emailed fellow lawmakers saying the womb of a woman “is of no definite use in her life or well-being”.

The Washington Post ran an article on her statement and said her comments contradicted the “long accepted science” that the uterus helps with reproductive health.

At the time, Tschida was running for office and he told the Daily Montanan that he had been candid with the public about his beliefs and would leave the race in the hands of the voters.

The Civil Service Commission regulates monopoly public services and is currently headed by a five-member all-Republican elected commission.

PSC Chairman Jim Brown did not return requests for comment this week, and an agency spokesperson declined to comment.

The position of Director General is relatively new to the PSC. In the spring of 2021, the Legislative Audit Division released a critical review of the Public Service Commission, and in response Brown said the agency was already filling gaps, including a reorganization to hire an executive director.

In August 2021, the agency announced its first director, a former school principal. The announcement said the director would “plan, coordinate and manage the day-to-day operations of the department” and “direct the communications and public relations work of the agency.”

Last June, the Boulder-based Monitor reported that former PSC principal Erik Wilkerson had accepted a position as Jefferson School District superintendent as part of a return to the education field.

The Civil Service Commission subsequently re-advertised the position of Executive Director, at least most recently on December 5, although it is no longer advertised. The position was advertised between $90,000 and $105,000.

Tschida is listed as a real estate agent for Windermere in Missoula, but he said he no longer works full-time.

The regulatory agency is based in Helena, and Tschida said whereabouts requirements were part of the discussion he had about the job. He also said he had his own age to consider; despite looking youthful, he said he was almost 70 years old.

. Montana PSC discussion with the former legislator Missoula Tschida for post director

. Montana PSC talks exMissoula lawmaker Tschida director job

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