Candidates for Miles City bench make pitch to voters

Abe Winter
Star Staff Writer

City residents should have received their official Municipal General Election ballot in the mail.

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7 and Miles City voters will have three candidates to pick from in their bid to become the next City Judge. The position is a four-year term at an annual salary of $22,000.

The candidates, listed alphabetically, are Rob Shipley, Kenneth P. Stein and Scott Zeitner. A fourth candidate, policeman Mark Reddick, withdrew from the race. The winner replaces Al Homme, who is retiring after eight years.

Also on the ballot are the candidates for four City Council member positions that are open (there are eight, two in each ward). However, all four — Kenneth Gardner in Ward 1, Rick Huber in Ward 2, Brant Kassner in Ward 3 and Dwayne Andrews in Ward 4 — are running unopposed.

Questions for the City Judge candidates as provided by the Miles City Star:

1. Why do you want to be the next City Judge?

Shipley: “I desire being elected City Judge because (a) all city judges since Paul Mottram, 30-plus years ago, never had any legal training whatsoever; (b) my parents actually did a great deal for Miles City and I wish to serve the wonderful people of Miles City; (c) I know I can be YOUR City Judge without flaws of any kind, i.e., I can and will operate YOUR city court expertly; (d) I am far, far, far better qualified than all of my opponents; (e) Miles City has some troubles and the City Court can change as necessary and attend to some of these.”

Stein: “I filed for the City Judge position because I believe I can help the justice court to continue to be an effective and trustworthy judicial system in regards to local matters.”


Zeitner: “I feel that the residents of Miles City deserve a judge that has a good understanding of our legal systems, has a thorough knowledge of state law and local ordinances, and has a thorough understanding of a court of limited jurisdiction. With well over 25 years of criminal justice experience, I feel that I am the one candidate that has the formal background to best serve as the city court judge.”


2. What do you consider your qualifications for the position?

Shipley: “My qualifications are:

a. I have obtained well over 16,000 hours of good, hard, online study of all aspects of law since 2000 when I bought my first computer.

b. I have several very good friends who are lawyers of the very best  repute.

c. I have had more than 60 people advise me I could have and should have been a lawyer.

d. I love the Holy Bible and the United States Constitution dearly.

e. Some persons get into history or geology or farming, my passion has always been guns and law.

f. I am the only candidate for City Judge who actually knows HOW and WHY the judicial system works like it does.

g. I have experience in the city court, the justice court, the district court, and have filed briefs and complaints in even the federal district court of Montana.

h. I have lived my entire life in Miles City where my wonderful parents became wealthy owing the goodness of Miles City people.

i. My dad was a deputy sheriff, a Northwest Airlines captain, a Montana Fish and Game commissioner and a pillar of the Miles City community.

j. I am a Navy veteran air traffic controller once holding a Top Secret clearance awarded me by the U. S. Navy and the FBI.

k. I know how to work. You do whatever you have to do for as long as you have to do it. Period. Done deal.”


Stein: “My qualifications are my Christian values, common sense and my willingness to treat everyone with a genuine fairness that we all deserve.”


Zeitner: “I  have been involved in the criminal justice field for well over 25 years, and been involved with city, county, state, federal, and international courts throughout my entire career. I have attended and completed well over 3,500 hours of specialized legal and related formal training offered through the Montana University system, Montana Law Enforcement Academy, U.S. Customs Service Training Academy, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. As a senior instructor/course developer for the US Customs Service, I taught both Customs law and federal criminal law in a formal course setting, and I still instruct annually in foreign countries through the U.S. Department of State ICITAP Program. Of the three candidates for the position of city court judge, I am the only one possessing any form of criminal justice experience.”


3. What do you want to say to the voters of Miles City?

Shipley: “To the voters of Miles City, I ask for your trust and your valuable votes for all the right reasons. I am actually overqualified and have a true passion to serve each of you righteously, not just get by earning a part-time city paycheck because I do not know anything about law. When you good people elect me to operate YOUR city court that YOU own, and you pay my salary, you will all be at ease, relaxing that you have done the right thing. There is no way to do the wrong thing.”


Stein: “I would like to tell the voters of Miles City that I have been humbled by all of your encouragement and great comments when I have asked for your support in this election for the City Judge position.”


Zeitner: “I would like to thank the voters and residents of Miles City for their consideration. I have been a resident of Miles City since 1963, when my father first transferred here with the Montana Highway Patrol. I am a graduate of CCDHS, and with the exception of my military and federal service, have called Miles City home. I have been active in many community efforts, and have a genuine concern for the health and welfare of our community. I have a very thorough understanding of the issues that face our residents, and feel that with my qualifications and experience, you will get a judge that will be impartial, fair-minded, but firm in my commitment to uphold the laws of the city and the state of Montana. Thank you all for your consideration and support.”

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)