STEVENSVILLE — Stevensville is looking for two new council members after more turmoil hits Town Hall, although neither of the departing council members are citing politics as the reason they've stepped aside.
Councilman Patrick Shourd submitted his resignation last week, saying family circumstances had changed and that while he valued the role of a councilman his "primary obligation will always reside with my family."
Shourd had been appointed as a councilman following the 2019 shakeup which had decimated the council to a single member, losing a write-in campaign, and then being appointed to fill another vacancy last fall. The position is up for election this year.
Then, after another disruptive council meeting last Thursday, Council President Dempsey Vick resigned, although he said his resignation "has nothing to do with any issues I may or may not have had in the past" with Mayor Brandon Dewey, or "anyone else".
Vick, who was also appointed after the rash of departures in 2019, said he wanted to focus on "myself, my career and my future".
Vick had raised concerns last week over a $12,000 reimbursement to Dewey for legal fees stemming from last year's recall. Dewey explained that he had returned those funds after questions arose over that reimbursement. In a letter to the council, Dewey said he's asking for an investigation into the handling of those accounts, although he believes that will "reveal no impropriety".
In a Facebook post, Mayor Dewey said last week was filled with the "spread of misinformation and destructive rhetoric." He said "neither side is innocent" and the "propulsion of hate and cynicism has to stop" for the community to focus on what's important."
Here's his full statement:
"Yesterday’s resignation of Councilmember Dempsey Vick comes at the end of a week where the abuse towards our local elected officials was again highlighted with the spread of misinformation and destructive rhetoric.
Neither “side” is innocent, and the constant propulsion of hate and cynicism toward each other has to stop in order for our community to focus on what is important.
Our community can overcome the dark, senseless, and tawdry political antics that have been used to unnecessarily influence the affairs of Town Hall. But we have to put down our theoretical weapons, agree that our differences exist, and move on in a direction where our community thrives.
Be neighbors. Not enemies. We don’t have time for a fight."