By Ross Markman
The hotly contested race for the Democratic nomination for Hill County treasurer is over.
Seeking a third term, incumbent Carrie Dickson faced and defeated a former employee in the Treasurer's Office in Tuesday's primary election. Dickson edged out Kathleen Galbavy-Williams by 205 votes, 1,112 to 907.
Neither Dickson nor Galbavy-Williams were available for comment today.
Galbavy-Williams, 54, worked eight years as a clerk in the Treasurer's Office before being dismissed in early 2001. Galbavy-Williams said she was fired for questioning Dickson's integrity and requesting an investigation of her conduct. She also alleged that Dickson maintained an illegal "slush fund," a bag in which money was funneled for eventual purchases of things like birthday cakes, coffee and Christmas decorations for the Treasurer's Office.
Hill County Attorney David Rice wrote a letter to Dickson a year ago informing her that he was aware of the fund. "I really don't like the idea of balancing your accounts with the fund, so find some other way to handle that," the letter said.
Dickson acknowledged this spring that the alleged fund was investigated and said that no criminal charges were filed.
Havre police Lt. George Tate, who conducted the investigation, confirmed that criminal charges were not filed.
Dickson, 40, has spent 13 years working for the county eight as treasurer and five as a clerk in the same office. She has an associate's degree in accounting from Lane Community College in Oregon.
Dickson faces deputy treasurer Wanda Mork in November's general election. Mork was unopposed in Tuesday's Republican primary. She received 617 votes.
In other primary results, former Montana Highway Patrol office Terry Stoppa received 75 percent of the votes in the race for Hill County justice of the peace. Stoppa received 2,042 votes, while his opponent, Havre Public Schools substitute teacher Ramon "Ray" Bergh, received 683. Both advance to the general election.
Former Justice Carol Chagnon retired in April after 16 years on the bench. Her unexpired term is being filled by Lane Hauge, a Havre attorney. Havre City Judge Joyce Perszyk and Perry Miller, justice for Blaine County, are also chipping in, presiding over trials.
In the only other local contested race, Ken Hansen defeated Art Kleinjan in the Democratic primary in House District 46, which includes parts of Blaine, Hill and Phillips counties. Hansen had 1,327 votes, or 54 percent, and Kleinjan had 1,112.