Residents Voice Anger Over County Attorney’s Actions
Two Roosevelt County residents, Bill Juve and James Walling, expressed their disapproval of county attorney Frank Piocos during the public comment portion at the county commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Piocos was elected Roosevelt County attorney in the November general election after filing as the only candidate. Since that time, resident and Northern Plains Independent publisher Darla Downs filed an affidavit of individual challenging an elector which claimed that Piocos falsely provided 202 Broadway Ave., Apartment 300 in Culbertson as his residence.
Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder Cheryl Hansen conducted an investigation. The outcome of the investigation was that Piocos’ voter registration was canceled due to the false address.
In Montana, an elected government official is required to be an elector of the county that he serves. “Considering this behavior, it’s inappropriate to expect the hard-working taxpayers of Roosevelt County to continue paying Mr. Piocos’ salary,” Juve said to commissioners last week. “The taxpayers require and expect more from their elected officials.”
Juve requested that county commissioners strongly consider asking Piocos to resign from the office of county attorney.
“All county officials should be held in high regard and should be able to be trusted by their constituents. Mr. Piocos violated this trust by misleading us to believe that he actually lived in our county, a prerequisite to running for county attorney,” Juve said. “Mr. Piocos has been employed by Roosevelt County for more than a year and has had ample time to relocate. I understand that the commissioners don’t have the authority to remove the appointed county attorney from office, but we urge the commissioners to stress to Mr. Piocos that his actions were inexcusable and that we believe the proper course of action for him now is to leave office.”
Walling, the lessor of the property in Culbertson, said that Piocos has never occupied that commercial office and the lease was not for an apartment. He shared his anger about Piocos’ claims.
He noted that he wished commissioners would hold contempt regarding Piocos’ actions. Walling noted that the lie that Piocos stayed at the location was discussed in the commissioners’ office, and Walling told both Piocos and commissioner Gordon Oelkers that the residency wasn’t correct.
Walling said he made clear to Piocos in early 2022 to no longer spread this “fiction” of him living there. He noted that was the last he heard about it until the newspaper reports.
Walling asked commissioners to request Piocos to show some shame about misleading the voters of Roosevelt County.