by Audree Tribbensee, Stevensville
This letter to the editor is related to Mr. Bob Michalson’s opinion posted in the Bitterroot Star’s September 14, 2021 edition. Mr. Michalson, I am not surprised that you have resorted to gaslighting the community with false accusations against Mayor Dewey to further push your childish vendetta and desire to occupy Town Hall. However, since you so boldly included me by name in your nonsense, I am compelled to correct you in your intentional decision to deceive the public with twisted truths and outright lies.
First, Council members did leave their seat for various reasons, including terms expired, not reelected and a few resignations for personal reasons. However, they are not employees and cannot be counted towards your “30” highest paid employees in the county/state. That leaves 16 employees who have left over the past four years. I have firsthand knowledge of their departures and there may have been two of the 16 who left for reasons related to Mayor Dewey. Mayor Dewey holds staff accountable and the two I am aware of had problems with accountability. Secondly, a number of the staff you mention resigned because they took jobs that paid a lot more money than Stevensville could offer. Some of them left for personal reasons (family and life events). But most importantly, a good number of these staff members, including me, left directly because of YOU and your horrible mistreatment of us.
Which leads me to my second point, I am shocked that you mention me and insinuate I left because of Mayor Dewey. You of all people personally know that this is nowhere close to the truth. I begged you to stop mistreating, harassing and bullying me and my co-workers, on many occasions. You refused to stop your horrible behavior. After 9 months of working in the worst conditions of my 30+ years government career, I literally could not take one more minute of your abuse. I resigned directly because YOU, and former Council members Stacie Barker and Robin Holcomb were all monster bullies. Mayor Dewey did everything in his power to protect me and the other staff.
What is shocking and the public needs to know, is how dishonest You are in your letter to the editor dated Sept 14, 2021. You are very much aware of why I was forced to resign my position with the Town. The State of Montana agreed that I was justified to resign as no reasonable person should ever have to endure the working conditions that YOU created. As a result of your bad behavior, and part of public record, I filed a law suit against the Town of Stevensville Town Council, which you were the Council President. Further, I filed a second law suit solely against YOU for your relentless bullying and harassment. As you know, and what is also part of public record, both cases were settled out of court which resulted in the Town writing two checks, one for my claims against the Town Council and the other naming YOU directly. The contents of these two settlements are confidential and cannot be disclosed or discussed.
Also, Mr. Michalson, I am unable to reconcile why you were vocally against the Town paying legal fees for Mr. Dewey’s defense brought on as a result of the failed recall attempt, calling Mr. Dewey a criminal for doing so, while you were perfectly content to let the Town’s resources pay for your legal defense with my claims against you. Both situations were legal fees to defend actions that transpired while conducting Town business. Why the double standards?
So, in conclusion, stop spreading lies and disinformation Mr. Michalson.
If anyone in the community wants to understand why staff over the past 4 years have resigned, retired or left voluntarily, please ask them directly and please do not believe Mr. Michalson’s lies and continued attempts to smear Mr. Dewey’s reputation with nonsense and fabricated crap.
Finally, I urge community members to consider this information as you cast your votes for the upcoming election, of which Mr. Michalson is running for a Council seat.