Associated Press statehouse correspondent Matt Gouras is reporting Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked MDT Director Jim Lynch to resign after discovering that Lynch’s daughter was hired by the department.
From the AP article:
Schweitzer confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that the abrupt resignation was over concerns that the hiring of Lynch’s daughter, Emily Rask, could violate state nepotism laws. Rask holds a post in the agency’s human resources department.
“I became aware that he had hired his daughter. I spoke to him about it and said, ‘Jim, this is a clear violation of the nepotism law,'” Schweitzer said. “On that basis, I asked for his resignation. He had an interpretation that it is acceptable. I said, ‘Look, this is not acceptable.'”
Lynch had a somewhat different explanation of events:
Lynch told the AP on Friday that he is the one who offered his resignation. He also said that both he and Schweitzer agreed the hiring did not amount to nepotism under the state law.
Lynch said he did not get personally involved in the hiring that took place about four years ago, and he said he made sure it was all done correctly.
Lynch said he was surprised the hiring became an issue after such a long time. He said he stayed out of the decision-making process, and said his daughter was hired on merit in a normal hiring process.
“When I heard that she was applying, I reviewed it with the legal department and human resources and they said it was acceptable for her to apply for the job,” Lynch said. “Quite frankly, that was the end of it for me.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with what we did, we followed the process.”