By Brandon Dewey, Mayor of Stevensville
This communication aims to answer citizen questions and dispel misinformation in the petition that was circulated by Leanna Rodabaugh to recall the Stevensville Mayor. The recall petition alleges violations of Montana Code and Town Code as well as the Mayor’s Oath of Office. These allegations have been thoroughly reviewed by legal counsel and investigated by the City Attorney and found to be unsubstantiated.
Myth: Mayor Dewey violated the law and his oath of office by signing a contract for managed IT services.
Fact: As Mayor, I signed an agreement for IT services in accordance with applicable laws. The adopted fiscal year 2020 budget includes funding for IT services for various departments. In accordance with the current purchasing policy and Montana law, the Mayor has authority to enter into agreements. The agreement signed by the Mayor was authorized by the purchasing policy. The Council delegated the authority to make certain types of purchases to the Mayor and Department Heads through its purchasing policy; putting trust in the departments to spend money within their budget without direct oversight.
Myth: Mayor Dewey did not follow advertising and bid requirements required by MCA and Town Ordinance prior to authorizing IT services.
Fact: IT services are exempt from the bidding process. Montana law outlines a process for bidding when dealing with “other than professional, technical, engineering, or legal services.” Because IT services are considered “professional” services, this bidding process does not apply to this situation. The Town Ordinance also excludes IT services from the bidding process.
Myth: Managed IT services were not in the Town’s budget.
Fact: The current budget contains funding for managed IT services across multiple departments and funds. The Council received the Town’s proposed budget and spent over 5 months reviewing and modifying it, prior to adopting the current budget, which includes this IT budgetary item.
Myth: The County Attorney approved the recall petition based on the merits of recall, agreeing that there were grounds for recall.
Fact: The County Attorney did not approve the recall petition based on the merits of the recall. The County Attorney only reviews petitions based on formatting. In their review of the petition it was stated: “We did not make any determination as to the validity of any of the allegations; our only determination was whether the form of the petition met the statutory requirements.”
On March 12, 2020, the Stevensville Town Council held a meeting where IT services and the contract in question on the recall petition were discussed. Ms. Rodabaugh attended that meeting and heard the facts of the issue. These facts were presented in the meeting by City Attorney Scott Owens who concluded that there was no merit to the allegations brought forth, now presented in the recall petition, and that no illegal action had been taken by the Mayor or administration.
I have asked the Ravalli County Clerk & Recorder to reject the recall petition filed against my office. Our community has tolerated nonsensical, fabricated allegations long enough. If you’re going to submit accusations of illegality, do so without omitting critical details. And, do it with honesty.