Christoffersen Files Complaint To Stay As County Attorney
Janet Christoffersen, who was removed by the Roosevelt County Commissioners from the position of county attorney at the end of June, has filed a complaint against the county. Christoffersen is seeking a declaration from the court that she remains the Roosevelt County Attorney because commissioners don’t have the authority to remove her from office.
She is requesting a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring Roosevelt County from any action prohibiting her from performing the duties of Roosevelt County Attorney.
Commissioners voted by a 2-0 vote, with Commissioner Gary Macdonald abstaining, to not extend Christoffersen’s four-month contract on June 29.
In the court filing, it’s argued that there’s no legal avenue for commissioners to force such a removal. The document states, “under the law, as the appointed county attorney, Christoffersen could only be removed from the position of county attorney upon certain circumstances pursuant to certain processes. Those circumstances do not exist and no process was followed.”
The court documents noted that she was installed as the Roosevelt County Attorney by appointment and not pursuant to a single employer/ employee relationship or as an independent contractor. There was never any contract between the parties, her appointment was done pursuant to governing statues. “Importantly, the Roosevelt County Commission did not hire, employ, or contract with the plaintiff. The Roosevelt County Commission appointed the plaintiff to the position of Roosevelt County Attorney.” Christoffersen is being represented by the law firm of Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry and Hoven.
Court documents state that, as Roosevelt County attorney, she took an oath to perform the duties and she is being preventing from completing the duties. The document claims that the real harm is the prevention of Christoffersen to work to protect the public safety of the people of the State of Montana.
The county has 21 days to respond to the complaint when the complaint is officially served.
“It was pretty clear that it was an interim position,” commissioner Gordon Oelkers said during the meeting on Thursday, June 29.