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Hammons named county administrator

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | September 28, 2021 7:00 AM

Lincoln County has a new hand at the helm. Commissioners appointed Jim Hammons, a long-time local official, as county administrator during a Sept. 22 meeting.

Hammons brings more than two decades of experience in city government to the county post. Appointed city administrator of Libby in 2010, Hammons is rounding 12 years on the job. He earlier served as mayor and a city councilor in Troy.

Colleagues at Libby City Hall were saddened to hear of Hammons’ departure, saying he was instrumental in guiding the municipality over the years.

“I’m really sorry to see him go,” said Mayor Peggy Williams. “I wish him the best of luck.”

While Hammons acclimates to the county job, he plans to keep working with the city on unfinished business. For at least the next two weeks, Hammons will be assisting with engineering projects and coordinating with a grant writer for the city. Minor administrative duties Hammons deals with every year also will keep him busy.

“We have got a lot of things going on right now that I just can’t walk away from,” he said.

Looking back on his time as city administrator, Hammons said he was proud of the work he and other city officials had accomplished. Along with managing building projects and grants for Libby, Hammons has helped the municipality bring roads up to spec.

“Go drive the roads around here and then go around some of the other cities and towns in Montana and tell me we don’t have pretty good roads,” said City Clerk and Treasurer Samuel Sikes.

The county administrator seat opened up in August when Patrick McFadden stepped down from the post. In an email statement, McFadden cited disagreements with recently appointed County Commissioner Brent Teske (D-1) as the reason he handed in his resignation.

McFadden claimed Teske had shown disrespect and disregard for personal space following his appointment.

“The community should know he consistently displays a lack of character befitting the office and should not be trusted in leadership positions,” said McFadden. “In over 25 years of public service I have never before witnessed such disrespect to coworkers.”

Teske said that as commissioner he would not comment on personnel issues. Asked about McFadden’s absence earlier in the month, other commissioners would only confirm the former county administrator’s departure.