Thursday, March 29, 2007

Branded man

Yesterday, Montana Headlines made the modest suggestion that maybe we could do better than Stan Boone when it comes to members on the Montana Board of Livestock.

Now, 49 employees of the Montana Dept. of Livestock have signed a petition opposing his appointment to the board. Given the way that we have seen the lockstep state employee testimony in support of administration policy this session, this is worth noting. Granted, brand inspectors and the like aren't your typical government employees.

We noted yesterday that Boone has a sense of humor, since he indignantly suggested that opposition to him was politically motivated. Today we learn that humor runs in the family, since his son, Mark Boone, suggested that "Livestock Department employees were 'railroaded into signing the letter.'"

Leaving aside the fact that Boone has surely met enough brand inspectors in his life to know that these guys are not particularly easy to railroad, we would wonder who is in a position to threaten them, since by opposing Boone they are opposing the wishes of their bosses up the chain and putting their jobs on the line:

Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, who suggested Boone was "being treated to a rough introduction to the Legislature," said in his 30-plus years in state government he had never seen that many department employees "put their jobs on the line."

They certainly aren't being railroaded by the Board of Livestock, since railroading works in the other direction with this board.

And the list of opposition grows:

Also opposed were the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and Billings cattleman Jack McGuinness, who related his confrontation with Boone over a lien on cattle sold in Billings. McGuinness formerly owned the Billings Livestock Commission Co. Jack Wiseman, former head of the Brand Enforcement Division of the Livestock Department, also spoke against Boone.

It will be interesting to see if this is a place where Democrats will insist on blasting their wishes through in spite of valid opposition.

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