NewsMontana Politics


Gianforte releases roster of staff members and salaries, announces several cabinet picks

Posted at 2:49 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 17:24:08-05

GREAT FALLS — The gubernatorial transition team for Governor-elect Greg Gianforte on Thursday released the roster of his staff members and their salaries.

Gianforte, Montana’s current member of the U.S. House of Represenatives and a former high-tech entrepreneur from Bozeman, won election November 3, defeating Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. His victory made Montana the only state in the nation that saw a change of party control in the governor’s office in November.

He will be sworn in at the Montana State Capitol on Monday, January 4 at 9 a.m. His running mate Kristen Juras will be sworn in as the lieutenant governor.

Chris Heggem, Gianforte's chief of staff, said in a news release: “Governor-elect Gianforte has brought together a well-qualified team that’s ready to hit the ground running on January 4th, work hard for Montanans across our state, and help him lead Montana’s comeback."

Staff information and salaries:

  • Kurt Alme, budget director: $123,000
  • Charlie Brereton, health care policy advisor: $78,000
  • Sonny Capece, economic development specialist: $42,000
  • Will Emery, research/press assistant: $40,000
  • Mike Freeman, natural resources policy advisor: $95,000
  • Travis Hall, senior advisor and director of strategic communications: $110,000
  • Christine Heggem, chief of staff: $128,000
  • Karli Hill, director of engagement: $87,000
  • Elizabeth Klinker, constituent services: $33,000
  • Rachel Meredith, counsel: $95,000
  • Anita Milanovich, general counsel: $120,000
  • Mike Milburn, senior advisor: $113,000
  • Glenn Oppel, policy director: $105,000
  • Celia Rigler, staff assistant: $27,000
  • Tory Scribner, scheduler: $45,000
  • Brett Simons, economic development specialist: $44,000
  • Hannah Slusser, executive assistant to the lieutenant governor and chief of staff: $40,000
  • Brooke Stroyke, press secretary: $66,000
  • Liane Taylor, boards & nominations: $80,000
  • Garrett Turner, director of media and content: $60,000

On Wednesday, Gianforte announced the appointment of Amanda Kaster to lead the state Department of Natural Resources & Conservation. Amanda brings a decade of experience working on energy and natural resources issues, most recently serving as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She previously served as acting chief of staff and senior advisor at the Bureau of Land Management.

Also on Wednesday, Gianforte named Chris Dorrington as his choice to lead the state Department of Environmental Quality. Dorrington currently serves as the administrator of the Air, Energy, and Mining Division at the DEQ. In that role, Chris has led the programs and professionals that permit and regulate air and mining in Montana, and advised and informed energy policy and projects.

On Thursday, Gianforte announced his appointment of Malcolm “Mack” Long to lead the state Department of Transportation. Long brings twenty-five years of experience in professional construction operations and management to the position, serving as president of the JTL Group – a construction company started by his grandfather in Billings. After his retirement from JTL, Long served as owner of an oil field service business in Montana and Wyoming.

Gianforte also announced on Thursday the appointment of Major General John “Pete” Hronek to serve as Montana’s Adjutant General and lead the Department of Military Affairs. General Hronek has held numerous posts in Montana over his career, including Assistant Adjutant General from 2018 to 2019 and Chief of Staff for the Montana National Guard from 2015 to 2018. Current Adjutant General Matthew Quinn will assume a new role in the Governor’s Office, as executive director of Governor-elect Gianforte’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Last week, Gianforte announced his first appointee as a state agency director – former state legislator Mike Foster, as director of the state Department of Agriculture. Foster has been working since 2018 as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency in Montana.