STEVENSVILLE – Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey says the fire department is “his life” and he’ll plan to return as a volunteer if a future Attorney General’s opinion supports the idea of him serving as mayor and firefighter.
Dewey is agreeing to step down from his job as a volunteer firefighter after getting pressure from the Town Council.
The council voted unanimously Monday to ask for Dewey’s immediate resignation from the fire department, where he’s been a volunteer and administrative assistant for several years. The panel was concerned about possible conflicts of interest, with the city attorney saying his service falls under state law that addresses “incompatible positions.”
“When we run for political office we also need to be aware of our duties on both sides. Being a politician and being a community member,” said Stevensville Town Councilman Ray Smith.
Dewey followed in his father’s footsteps as a firefighter. And he thanked his fellow firefighters and supporters in the audience for their support, and teaching him leadership.
“I have family in the fire department. My very best friends come from within the fire department. My mentors and the advice they lend me comes from the fire department,” Dewey said. “My ability to be a good husband, father and person, were learned from the men and women who serve, or have served this community. I am the leader I am today because of you.”
The question of whether a mayor can also serve as a firefighter is being posed to the Montana Attorney General’s Office. And Dewey is making it clear he’ll reverse his resignation if the AG issues a more definitive opinion allowing him to wear both hats.
“It is more important to me that we continue to govern for the people who elected us than to dispute this any further. With that said, if it is the opinion of the Montana Attorney General’s Office that the Office of Mayor and being a volunteer firefighter are in fact compatible, I will reconsider my resignation and may rejoin the service.”
Dewey says he feels like the request was a “personal attack”.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News