Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey survived the recent recall election against him with a vote of 584 (52%) in favor of keeping him in office and 535 (48%) voting to oust him. The recall petition accused the mayor of violating the law and his oath of office by hiring an IT company without council approval. Following the election on November 3, Council President Bob Michalson and Council member Robin Holcomb both submitted their resignations, effective November 5th.
The Mayor responded to the election results with the following statement:
“Stevensville’s decision in Tuesday’s election is one that sheds light on what has become a dark political climate locally. While the recent recall election has distracted us from our core values and the vision that our citizens have for their community, I’m eager to see us move on and begin the healing that is needed to unite our Town.
“Serving Stevensville continues to be a tremendous honor that has taken a great deal of patience, professionalism, and willingness to adapt and learn. As your Mayor I have sometimes found myself in an environment of noise, mess, and doubt where my integrity and drive to do what is right is the only guiding light for me. Moreover, the character and heart of the people in Stevensville are what make this community so special to serve.
“My commitment and service to this community would not be possible without the faithful support of my family, most notably Tasha. The fierce efforts of community members in the campaign coupled with an outpour of support since our victory has meant the world to Tasha and me. We are proud of our Town, and I am humbled to be your mayor for another year.
“A posse of detractors with an aggressive agenda of obstruction and hidden truths will not deter the good things that we set out to accomplish together for a stronger, unified, more livable community. It is my hope that we not look at the defeat of this recall election as a clean slate or new beginning, but instead as a learning moment and important step towards putting tawdry political antics, misrepresentation of the truth and misplacing our community’s interests to rest for the greater good of our neighbors and our future.”
Both Councilors Michalson and Holcomb submitted similar one sentence resignations stating simply “As of Thursday, November 5th, 2020 I hereby resign my position as Town Council Person for the Town of Stevensville.” Holcomb’s seat was in Ward 1 and Michalson’s in Ward 2.
Mayor Dewey said that he hadn’t spoken to either council person and wasn’t in the office when Holcomb delivered both the resignation letters on the 5th. He said he believed the two remaining council members would proceed to make appointments to fill the vacancies. He said that his office would no doubt be preparing to advertise for applicants as quickly as possible.
According to Dewey, the remaining two council members can appoint someone to fill the vacancy in each ward and whoever they appoint will serve until the next general election in which their name will appear on the ballot in November 2021.
At that point the terms associated with the seats would not change. The seat in Ward 2, in the November 2021 election, would be to serve out the remaining two years of Michalson’s term. The seat in Ward 1, on the other hand, would be to serve out a full 4-year term, since Holcomb’s seat would be expired. As a result, according to Dewey, the Mayor’s position and three positions on the Town Council will all be on the ballot in November 2021, since Councilor Dempsey Vick’s term also expires at that time.
Neither Michalson nor Holcomb returned phone calls from the Bitterroot Star seeking comment on their resignations.