State Auditor-elect Monica Lindeen Thursday named her office's senior staffers, including Gov. Brian Schweitzer's brother, Walter Schweitzer, as her top deputy.
The new staffers "share my commitment to ensuring Montanans are treated fairly by the insurance and securities industries (and) that we find solutions which ensure access to quality and affordable health care," Lindeen said in a news release.
Lindeen, a Democrat, won election to the auditor post Nov. 4, defeating Republican Duane Grimes. She will succeed Democrat John Morrison, who could not run for re-election because of term limits.
The state auditor also serves as the state insurance commissioner. Lindeen will be sworn into office Jan. 5.
Walter Schweitzer managed Lindeen's campaign and has worked as a campaign consultant and on his brother's gubernatorial race in 2004 and U.S. Senate race in 2000. He also had done some preliminary work on Brian Schweitzer's 2008 re-election effort.
Walter Schweitzer and his wife, Cindy Palmer, also have operated a farm and ranch south of Chester.
Newly elected state officials are allowed to appoint several of their top staff positions, known as "exempt" staff, because they serve at the pleasure of the elected official.
Lindeen's other top appointees include:
• Bob Moon, deputy insurance commissioner. Moon is a former administrator of public health programs for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. Lindeen said he'll play a "key role" in health promotion, contract management and grant acquisition.
• Lynne Egan, deputy securities commissioner under Morrison, will stay on in that position, overseeing regulation of the securities industry in Montana.
• John Mudd, executive counsel and policy adviser. Mudd, a Missoula attorney, has been involved in Democratic Party politics in the state for many years. He has served as assistant chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and as campaign counsel in Montana for President-elect Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Baucus and Sen. Jon Tester.
• Christina Goe, chief legal counsel under Morrison, will retain that job under Lindeen. She's been an attorney in the auditor's office since 1999.
• Jessica Rhoades, communications director and policy adviser. She worked most recently in the Washington, D.C., office of Planned Parenthood and has been communications director for the Montana Democratic Party.
Lindeen said she's still finalizing the salaries for some of the appointees, and that the salaries will be released publicly as soon as the negotiations are completed.