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Montana electric utility regulators revamping staff after audit flagged 'unhealthy organizational culture'

Jackie Yamanaka
Yellowstone Public Radio

Electric utility regulators in Montana are reorganizing staff after a financial compliance audit flagged a poor work culture on top of irresponsible money management.

The Montana Public Service Commission has been in the public eye for commissioner infighting over the last few years, and the report drew attention to what auditors called “an unhealthy organizational culture and ineffective leadership.”

Commissioner Jennifer Fielder of Thompson Falls says staff lacked a clear chain of command.

“And this created confusion, sometimes contention that was not able to be resolved, and really some unhealthy strife within the agency. So we’ve introduced a new organizational structure at the top end," she says.

The Public Service Commission hired an executive director in August.

Internal memos released to Yellowstone Public Radio last year through a public information lawsuit point to workplace bullying and other inappropriate treatment among both commissioners and staff. Two of the staff members implicated are no longer employed with the PSC.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.