STEVENSVILLE — The 2021 turmoil continues with more resignations for the Town of Stevensville, with additional departures including two more council members who have decided to quit.
If you thought last month's election results would finally allow things to simmer down at Stevensville Town Hall, you'd be wrong. Actually, the prospect of a new beginning in January hasn't led to any settlement at all, with a total of seven people departing.
The council resignations come as the biggest surprise. Thursday night, Councilwoman Jaime Devlin said she had to step down "for the health of my family and my well-being". In her resignation letter, Devlin said her two years on the council have "damaged" her as she has become a "victim of regular verbal and mental abuse."
"Until the mentality of people living in Stevensville changes, it will not matter who serves on the Council nor who is mayor. Until people stand up and say this abuse is no longer allowed here, it will continue," Devlin wrote in her resignation letter.
Quite unexpectedly, Sydney Allen — who was just appointed this fall and was elected with 64% of the vote — said she'd also had enough and will step down on Dec. 24.
She says she was "unaware forward movement could be muddled by negative rhetoric, false accusations, and misinterpretations of the law." She wants to focus on her family and "support the incoming administration as a community member."
Beyond the openings on the council, the town must also fill vacancies with the finance director, Parks and Recreation Director, deputy clerk, administrative assistant, and a police officer.
Some have questioned whether Mayor Brandon Dewey has the authority to take care of the bills over the next few weeks. He maintains he does. But there was also additional criticism Thursday when Dewey once again asked to be reimbursed for last year's lawsuit challenging the unsuccessful move to recall him. The council voted that down.
This leaves a complicated picture for the incoming administration to negotiate immediately. Mayor-elect Steve Gibson will have to spearhead efforts to not only fill the staff vacancies, but working with newly-elected Councilwoman Cindy Brown, replacing Karen Wandler who's stepping aside after filling a vacancy for a few months, and returning council veteran Stacie Barker who defeated Paul Luddington, to sort out the two council vacancies.
We'll also be watching to see what happens to Allen's Ward 2 seat. It appears that could be just filled until 2023 by appointment. The county has advised Stevensville to run that question by the Town Attorney.