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New leadership in municipalities

Brandon Dewey, assisted by his wife Tasha, was sworn in at a brief ceremony on January 2.

By Michael Howell

Three new mayors were sworn in and have begun serving in Hamilton, Stevensville and Darby.

Dominic Farrenkopf took the oath of office as Mayor of Hamilton a bit early, actually being sworn in by City Court Judge Michael Reardon on Thursday, December 21, 2017 in order to avoid a vacancy in the office due to retiring Mayor Jerry Steele’s departure.

“I am looking forward to serving Hamilton as mayor,” said Farrenkopf. “I’ve been meeting the city department heads and city employees. I’m learning the roles they play in the city and their current projects. We’ve had one City Council meeting, that was very productive. From the city councilors and city employees, I’m learning there is plenty of work to be done and I’m eager to see how we will all accomplish it.”

Council members Rod Pogachar and Kristi Bielski were re-elected and have been joined by Claire Kemp who defeated incumbent Ken Bell in the last election.

In Stevensville, Brandon Dewey was sworn in as mayor at a ceremony at town hall. Dewey said that he hit the ground running last week and that his number one priority was to build a good working relationship with the Town Council. According to Dewey, he and the council members are reviewing the legal relationship between the council and the mayor’s office with the help of Dan Clark from MSU’s Local Government Center in Bozeman in order to assure that they are all on the same page in terms of the relationship.

Dewey has announced some new appointments that

Dominic Farrenkopf, right, is sworn in as Hamilton’s new Mayor by City Judge Michael Reardon.

he hopes to get the council’s consent for this week, including the appointment of Paul O’Bagy as Airport Manager, Dan Denton as Assistant Airport Manager, and appointment of Don Whitehair to the joint board of the town’s Tax Increment Financing District and the Targeted Economic Development District.

Stevensville Town Council member Robin Holcomb was re-elected for another term. She and newly elected Council member Raymond Smith also took the oath of office.

Buck Titus, new Mayor of Darby, said he’s currently working like mad to get his wife’s kitchen remodel project completed. Titus won a landslide victory in the last election against former Mayor JC McDowell. The previous administration was embroiled in controversy over the proper way to address the town’s fiscal problems. Titus said that he believes the citizens of Darby “know very well who I am and know what they can expect from me as Mayor.” He said his aim was to keep a low profile and he didn’t see a need for any PR related to his position.

Darby Town Council members George Cuff (Ward 1) and George Costello (Ward 2), who ran unopposed, will be joined by Bret Rider (Ward 2 Unexpired Term) and Bill De Spain (Councilperson-at-large Unexpired Term).

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