PHILIPSBURG – A Granite County commissioner is being charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly using county equipment for personal use and county commissioners will now decide whether to appoint a special county attorney to look into the case.

Charging documents filed on Jan. 31 in Lewis and Clark District Court charge Granite County Commissioner Scott Adler with one count of official misconduct and one count of theft by embezzlement.

A Montana Division of Criminal Investigation agent was assigned last fall to investigate reports Commissioner Adler used Granite County road department equipment and employees to install recycled asphalt onto his personal driveway.

There’s some dispute over whether Adler’s fellow commissioners knew all the details of the testing. Adler later reimbursed the county, but the DCI said his estimate “greatly understated” the amount.

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Investigators reviewed tape of a commissioner’s meeting where Adler and fellow commissioner Bill Slaughter had discussed using the grinding and milling equipment to see if it would work on county roads.

Slaughter later said he didn’t know the specific location of the tests. And Commissioner Bart Bonney said he knew nothing about the specific tests until people complained about it. Bonney said he never approved testing the equipment at Adler’s.

Adler told the DCI agent all three commissioners had agreed to the tests on his property. He also said he had an estimate drawn up after people complained, and he reimbursed the county for $1450. However, DCI said the estimate was “greatly understated.”

The Granite County road supervisor testified to the DCI Agent that all the millings available to the county had previously been used on road surfaces and there was no need for further testing of the millings.

County commissioners will meet Tuesday at 9:00 am in the commissioner’s office, on the main floor of Granite County Courthouse, 220 North Sansome Street, Philipsburg.

-Melissa Rafferty reporting for MTN

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