By Chris McDaniel
The Courier 

Brian "Auzzie" Austin To Stay On In New Refuse District Manager Spot

Duties will include landfill operations, financial assessments


Brian “Auzzie” Austin has been chosen to fill the new position of Valley County Refuse District Manager.

Austin was formerly the Valley County Landfill manager, a position eliminated in effort to tackle massive indescrepencies with how customers countywide are assessed for refuse removal services.

“Brian is doing an excellent job of managing the actual landfill part,” said Commission Chairman Paul Tweten during a public meeting April 28. “ It was not in his job description to manage the finances in the refuse district.”

The three Valley County Commissioners had considered a job description for the new position for some time before finalizing the language with input from the now defunct Valley County Refuse Board.

The description lists the essential functions of the position as including the development and maintenance of financial reports, an annual budget, capital improvements and replacement plans. Additionally, the manager is responsible for updating assessments as needed to accurately reflect the county commercial, residential, agricultural, Tribal and governmental usage of landfill and container sites.

The description also notes the position would work both in the field and in an office setting.

“I thought the additions were good, and nothing was taken away,” said Commissioner Mary Armstrong. “It is a good description and includes all of the assessment and the revenue management side that we were all missing.”

With the additional duties assigned to him, Austin received a small raise, coming to $25 an hour going forward.

“Brian said, ‘yep, he’ll do it,’ understanding the job description is the one the refuse board made additions to,” Tweten said.

“The job description that was there was totally focused on the landfill operation,” noted Commissioner John Fahlgren. “It did not talk anything about managing assessments or the budget. Now, we have a refuse district manager, which will make getting on top of these assessments and staying there doable for us.”

Austin will take on the duties of his landfill manager position and incorporate them into the refuse district manager along with all the other duties assigned, Armstrong noted.

“So, there will be a refuse district manager and no separate landfill manager,” she said.

During a meeting on April 7, the three county commissioners spoke at length with representatives from the former refuse board about the job description. They had discussed advertising the position to the public after the language was finalized, potentially opening up the position to other applicants, but never voted on that action.

In Montana, state law does not require government agencies to advertise for newly created positions, according to Dylan J. Jensen, County Attorney. Such laws do exist in other states to enforce transparency in governmental hirings.

“We had not made a decision,” Fahlgren said. “We had a lot of talk about advertising this. It is a greatly expanded job description.”

Fahlgren made that clarification in response to community input concerning potential advertising for the new position.

“When you brought Brian in here, you were going to repost the new job description, correct?” Monica Garten asked during the April 28 meeting.

“That was never voted on,” Tweten responded.

“In the paper, it kind of sounded as if we had already decided that,” Fahlgren added.

“In the Courier's defense, it did not say we were going out,” Tweten replied. “It said it is possible.”


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