Thomas Spatafore worked as a seasonal weed technician for Teton County Weed and Pest for a decade. By all accounts, he enjoyed the job and was good at it, moving up the ranks to lead his own crew, including an important contract with the National Elk Refuge.
The summer job had a crucial perk: free housing, which for at least a few seasons was a one-bedroom apartment he didn’t have to share. As an added bonus, because he returned each summer Weed and Pest allowed him to stay over the winters with a monthly rental payment far below market value, to the tune of $150 to $200 a month.
On Nov. 10, 2017, that changed. Weed and Pest supervisor Erika Edmiston and the agency’s board evicted Spatafore, and the following summer they did not offer him a job with the crew he had worked on for years. The events of just a few months — August to November of that year — led to the loss of his job and housing.