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Hypothetical Situation No. 1

At the conclusion of the regular legislative session, the Governor's Office asks you if you are interested in becoming a voting member of a state board. You are very interested in obtaining a Board of Help Montana Citizens Prosper (HMCP) appointment, but you remember portions of your ethics training regarding Separation of Powers, including certain prohibitions about appointment to Executive, Judicial, or local government offices. The orientation materials contained the full text of Article V, section 9, of the Montana Constitution, which states:

Disqualification. No member of the legislature shall, during the term for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under the state; and no member of congress, or other person holding an office (except notary public, or the militia) under the United States or this state, shall be a member of the legislature during his continuance in office.

You pull out the Montana Code Annotated, and learn that HMCP is statutorily created and attached to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (for administrative purposes only). It has 18 members that are appointment by the Governor, and it is required to seek federal grant money for the purpose of helping Montana citizens with food and shelter. HMCP approves temporary work programs that are funded with state money and the board promulgates administrative rules regarding grant conditions. The position would pay $50 per day when the committee meets.

Question: Are you permitted to become a member of the Board of HMCP?

ANo, the $50 per day salary is an impermissible benefit.
BYes, because a board member is not considered a "civil officer" under the Constitution. While it is important to be cautious, the term "civil officer" is reserved for Department heads, elected officials, and higher positions.
CNo, it would be a violation of the Constitution to accept an appointment with the Board of HMCP while being a member of the legislature.
DYes, because the regular legislative session is over, and you can always resign from the Board if a special session is called.



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Last Modified:
1/4/2015 11:15:26 AM