Or debating the civil war…or waiting for rain…or posting eclipse selfies…the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has been quietly sidling through rural Montana closing Job Service offices. Tuesday of this week employees got the ax in Lewistown. From there it was off to Anaconda, Dillon and Hamilton for the final blow. Earlier this year DLI closed offices in Livingston, Shelby and Glasgow. And while the Montana Historical Society and State Library have managed to keep the attention of the press with their ‘whining’, according to Representative Nancy Balance, there has yet to be a drop of ink for these closings, layoffs and loss of services to rural Montana. Let alone a tear from the Governor or Commissioner of Labor.
So what of it? Are the closures and loss of some 40 jobs the result of the session ending bipartisan Senate Bill 261 or girding for the cuts to come from the Throne of Trump? It’s hard to say at this point given that there have been no press releases or official statements made by anyone, anywhere. Not a peep. For an administration that so enjoys touting Main Street Montana and Montana Values, there doesn’t seem to be much concern or much support for rural main street now or that Montana value of being open and honest about what’s happening. You might just wonder if something is hiding in all of this smoke.
‘Government should operate like private business.’ In this case, government is doing just that. Swooping into small Montana towns with a crack team of well paid administrators handing out pink slips then off to the next small town to do more of the same. Of course driving the company car and dining on the company dime along the way. Those folks appeared sad faced and empathetic then hit the road, tires spinning and gravel flying. And speaking of those managers, it would appear that these closures don’t involve a single top dollar administrator or any jobs in the beehives of Helena. Life and paydays go on for the protected and imbedded in the Capitol City.
Speaking of life going on, it would seem that the closings come at a coincidental time with Commissioner of Labor Pam Bucy leaving for a new opportunity with well know lobbyist and quiet voice of the Republican Party, Mark Taylor. Could it be she checked the horizon, saw the iceberg and abandoned ship quickly? Or is it just the universe in motion. Either way she’s landed in a nice soft spot while her former employees head home to break the news to the family and plant a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’