Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey has filed a lawsuit in Ravalli County District Court aimed at stopping the recall election against him. The lawsuit names Leanna Rodabaugh, who initiated the recall petition against him and Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg in her capacity as Election Administrator. Dewey claims in the lawsuit that Rodabaugh lied under oath, and that her allegations are false and were made recklessly to mislead citizens in an effort to have him removed from office. He claims that Plettenberg never should have approved the petition to recall because it is based on misrepresentation of facts and presents misleading information.
Rodabaugh claims in the affidavit that she submitted as part of the petition process that it is Dewey who violated his oath of office by signing a $79,800 contract with First Call Computer Services without approval by the Town Council and that in doing so he violated the public’s right to know and participate in government decision making.
Dewey claims that he had the legal authority to sign the contract under the Town Council’s prior approval of the budget, the Stevensville Purchasing Policy and Montana law and claims the contract was misrepresented as a $79,800 contract.
“In reality,” it states in the lawsuit, “the non-binding contract total was comprised of: (1) $25,200.00 per year, for three years; (2) coverage for 8 different municipal-operated departments; and (3) a one-time implementation fee of $4,200. Without context, it appears as though the contract totals $79,800.00 for one fiscal year and for just the Mayor’s office.”
Dewey outlines the history of the Town Council’s actions with regard to the contract, including its approval as a line item in the budget that was adopted; approval of the start-up fee of $4,200 and the first monthly payment. He claims that all these issues were discussed openly at the council meeting that Rodabaugh attended and she should have known that her allegations were false and misleading.
Dewey asks the court for a preliminary injunction and for a Writ of Prohibition directing the Election Administrator to not call an election or further process the Recall Petition, claiming it is necessary to prevent irreparable injury to him as well as to the town. He also asks for a declaration that, based upon the true facts, the recall petition being circulated is improper under the law and that there are no legal grounds to it.
“This declaration is justified,” he argues, “because the allegations in the Recall Petition are false and in contradiction to the powers granted to the City by Mont. Code, which allows technical contracts to be awarded without a bidding process. Additionally, the Stevensville Town Purchasing Policy provides further justification because it allows the Mayor to enter into contracts without Town Council approval if the item was listed and approved thereby in the fiscal year budget.”
Dewey also asks for attorney fees and costs to be awarded. Dewey is being represented by Natasha Prinzing Jones of Boone Karlberg P.C.