Stevensville Mayor Says Council Opposition to His Volunteer Firefighting is ‘Personal’
The 27-year-old mayor of Stevensville is stepping away from being a volunteer firefighter after getting some heat from the Stevensville city Council. According to Mayor Brandon Dewey, he doesn’t want to leave the fire department and is waiting to hear back from the Montana Attorney General.
“I’ve been on the fire department for 12 years now, so over half of my life,” Dewey said. “We’ve run this issue past our city attorney- as the mayor I supervise the fire chief, but as a firefighter the chief supervises me- so that’s really where the issue is, it’s not necessarily a conflict of interest. This has been explained to the council, but we have sought an opinion from the Montana Attorney General’s office.”
Dewey believes the pressure put on his volunteer firefighter position is about him, not the policy, and says the only reason he is allowing the council to influence what he does for his volunteer time is because they oversee the fire department.
“I don’t want this issue to hinder the progress that we need in our community,” Dewey said. “I think it is all personal, the council has publicly stated that it’s not personal, but the council and I have a history that goes back a number of years and we have had our disagreements. There are individuals, I think, on the council that don’t necessarily agree with the public’s choice to have me as their mayor.”
Dewey has been in office for less than 50 days, and says that precedence indicates that the mayor of Stevensville is a part-time position. He says he hasn’t decided if he will continue on as a volunteer firefighter even if the Attorney General’s office says he can, and will weigh that against what’s best for the community.