Missoula County workers say officials eavesdropped on them

Missoula County employees say county officials illegally recorded their private conversations with digital audio and video recording devices installed in public works vehicles last year.

County Chief Operating Officer Chris Lounsbury tells the Missoulian that county officials agreed the audio in the devices needed to be turned off once concerns were raised in January.

But the employees worry the devices are still in the vehicles and they don't know what's become of the recordings.

Erica Grinde, the county's director of risk management and benefits, says the video and GPS devices are used in evaluating accident or property damage claims.

An attorney representing 27 county employees, Greg McDonnell, says they are negotiating with the county but has drafted a civil lawsuit if a settlement isn't reached.

Grinde confirms settlement negotiations are underway.