STEVENSVILLE – Former Mayor Jim Crews is back on the Stevensville Town Council after the body overrode a controversial veto of his appointment by current Mayor Brandon Dewey.
It’s the latest flap in the on-going struggle for political control of the town’s operations.
Members of the Stevensville Town Council appointed former Mayor Jim Crews last month to fill the latest vacancy for the remainder of this year.
But that sparked another procedural showdown with Mayor Brandon Dewey, who had defeated Crews at the elections two years ago.
Mayor Dewey said he was “vetoing” Crews’ appointment, but Crews took the oath of office from the local judge last week, setting up an awkward showdown at a special county meeting Wednesday night.
When Crews arrived, there was an empty chair, but no nameplate. So he waited while people came to his defense.
“He is to be seated at that chair, that’s legal. It’s binding,” complained Stevensville resident Leslie Tadvick. “And you have no right not to allow him to sit at it.”
Although the town’s attorney maintains Crews’ appointment was legal, Mayor Dewey claimed since it was done by council resolution, he had the ability to veto, claiming people didn’t have proper notice of the action.
“If you want to consider it the equivalent of a badly written parking ticket that’s fine,” Mayor Dewey told the council calmly. “But nonetheless, it does exist and needs to go through a process.”
But Crews himself took the microphone to say he wasn’t sure if the council should take action, one way or another on the veto. He’s worried about it setting a precedent.
“By voting either way, you could be setting a precedent that would allow this, or any subsequent mayor the presumption of authority to veto any council decision or motion on the floor,” Crews stated from the public podium.
With the entire council siding against Mayor Dewey, the panel voted to overturn the veto, and Crews took his seat to applause, as the mayor hit the gavel twice, calling for “decorum” to bring the meeting to order.
With the showdown resolved, tensions eased in the room. But with further squabbles brewing over contracts for important staff positions, the controversy seems likely to continue.