Billings Mayor Ron Tussing, tired of only getting paid a few hundred a month as Billings mayor (he apparently didn't read the not-so-fine print on the contract and has been, according to gossip, been discontented with the mayor's pay from day one) is now running for the PSC District 2 spot against incumbent Commissioner Brad Molnar.
As much as so many in our fair city would love to see this guy leave Billings and move to Helena, it needs to be kept in mind that we already tried that tack once, paying him several hundred thousand dollars to leave, only to have him pocket the money and then run for mayor in direct violation of (at least) the spirit of the agreement.
We hope that the residents of PSC district 2 will have the good sense to re-elect Brad Molnar -- and expect that they will. But might we suggest that if Tussing is by some chance elected, that the City of Billings file an injunction to garnish his wages to pay for the damage he has done to our city's finances? He should be able to keep a few hundred a month (maybe the same that he gets paid to be mayor) to live on, but the rest of his salary should go to the City of Billings.
Today's Billings Gazette reports that the bill for the Feuerstein lawsuit is up to $1.6 million, of which insurance will likely only pick up a third. More than $1 million will have to be paid by the taxpayers of Billings.
Par for the Billings Gazette course when it comes to Mayor Tussing, the article amazingly never mentions Tussing's name, even though as then chief of police he was at the center of the lawsuit against the police department, and even though he is now running for higher office and the public has the right to be reminded of his centrality to that lawsuit (jurors interviewed after the case indicated that Tussing's testimony and arrogant attitude was particularly damning.)
To be sure, Tussing was not the only person responsible for that debacle, but he was the guy in charge of the police department, and it is a dereliction of duty on the part of the Gazette not to remind readers of Tussing's connection.
Think Burns and Abramoff -- editorial guidelines seem to be that you can't mention one in the Gazette without mentioning the other, correct? By the same token, the Feuerstein case shouldn't be mentioned without including Tussing.
Anyway, the number you read is right. More than $1 million that will be billed to the taxpayers of our fair city. Thanks, Mayor Tussing.
There is plenty in the MH archives about Ron Tussing, such as our 5-part series of posts on the Feuerstein case entitled "The House the Ron Tussing Built," which will have to be reprised as this campaign goes on. But first, interested readers can turn to our initial post about Tussing's PSC bid, and the followup piece that was prompted by how popular the first post was with commenters in a frenzy to defend their honey Ron Tussing and attack Commissioner Molnar.
The PSC 2 race will be quite a doozy -- stay tuned. If our last couple of pieces on Tussing are any indication, there won't be long to wait for further comment.