Another member of a Gallatin County advisory committee has stepped down, joining three members who resigned two weeks ago over concerns about the commissioners’ poor communication and inadequate planning for major projects.

The Capital Improvements Program Committee includes a county commissioner and nine local residents who evaluate county departments’ capital requests and provide guidance to the commissioners. They also assist with long-term planning and public education regarding capital projects.

Former member Robert Lee is the fourth person to resign in the past month.

“There is much more these volunteers could offer, based on years of personal and professional experience and service to the county, regarding growth, planning, operations and leadership, but I will reserve my comments on these topics for those who value them,” Lee said in a letter addressed to the commissioners.

Former committee chair David Weaver, former vice chair Dawn Martin and former member Mike Money voiced similar views in their June 19 resignation letters, saying the commissioners weren’t including them in the work for major projects.

When commissioner Don Seifert heard about Weaver, Martin and Money’s letters, he said he was disappointed but said they hadn’t asked to meet with commissioners to discuss their concerns.

In his letter, Lee said Seifert was incorrect, citing minutes from several committee meetings in which members discussed the lack of communication from commissioners and asked to meet with them.

“The willful and repeated misrepresentation that we did not approach the commission or express these concerns is an insult,” he said.

Seifert declined to comment on Lee’s letter.

However, commissioner Scott MacFarlane, who serves on the committee, said that members had asked to meet with commissioners but that the resignations happened before a meeting could be scheduled.

He said that at a June 19 meeting, committee members discussed how they should work on capital projects going forward and decided they needed to talk with all three commissioners before making any decisions. When the meeting ended, MacFarlane said he spoke to the other commissioners about scheduling a meeting with the committee.

While MacFarlane was speaking to the other commissioners, he said the committee continued discussions and then Weaver, Martin and Money resigned.

“They closed the door. I don’t know what happened, but immediately after that, we started receiving notice that there were going to be resignations,” MacFarlane said. “We had already discussed as a commission setting a meeting with these guys … but they didn’t want to.”

In their resignation letters, the four committee members said the commissioners’ decision not to use their expertise could have long-term consequences, such as the county being unable to replace critical infrastructure in a timely, logical manner.

They said they wanted to be involved in the process for replacing the Law and Justice Center, which voters will be asked to finance this November. The commissioners said they have involved the committee in the ways that are appropriate up to this stage of the project.

The commissioners haven’t decided whether they will fill the four vacancies on the committee or disband it.

Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at pstein@dailychronicle.com. Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

Perrin Stein is the county, state and federal government reporter for the Chronicle.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.