I recently was party to a conversation concerning the turnover at the Stevensville Town Council. It was stated that there have been seven people on the council. There have actually been nine council members, ten if you count Bob Mikalson’s recent reelection to the council. For the mayoral supporters I will name the council members who have served: Raymond Smith, Stacie Barker, Bob Mikalson, Jerry Phillips, Jim Crews, Dempsey Vick, Pat Schourd, Steve Gibson and Jaime Devlin. Nine people in two years is more than enough to turnover the council, twice. The mayor’s supporters are fond of blaming the council for all the problems in Stevensville when in fact it is not the council, it is the mayor that is the problem. The mayor said he wanted to work with the council, then he all but locked them out of Town Hall. He went behind their backs and signed an IT contract in December for over $75,000 which is now the subject of a recall because he did not follow policies nor did he get prior approval from the council.
If we go beyond the Town Council to the employees there is even more evidence of problems with the mayor. In the Building Department, Dennis Munroe and Rick Martin have left. At the Airport, the town lost Chris Soto, Paul O’bagy and katie Coleman-Assad as managers. Public Works recently lost Jeff Hale. As nearly as I can determine, the police department has lost three officers. Dean Whitesitt is no longer the Cemetery Sextant. Brian West is not the City Attorney any more. There have been three finance officers in the mayor’s tenure, April Van Tassel, the mayor and Robert Underwood. Finally, there have been three town clerks, Stacie Bartlett, Audree Tribensee and Monica Hoffman. All these changes in two years or less.
The mayor’s supporters will say that of the 25 or so people mentioned above there are 25 answers to the question “why did you leave." That might be true but the one real reason is the mayor doesn’t have the leadership abilities to run a town. That kind of turnover in such a tiny organization is telling. There needs to be a change.
— Mark Adams, Stevensville
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