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Council's action to remove member was 'just plain rude'

| October 4, 2006 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the recent action taken by the city council to remove me from office.

One comment I've heard concerning the council and mayor's action is that it is "just plain rude," and I guess I would have to agree. How else would you describe firing someone without first talking to them about their performance? Yes, I missed a lot of meetings this past summer; in my line of work we work longer and later hours in the summer.

In the resolution to remove me from my elected seat, the reason was stated that I had willfully neglected my office. Last year the city had five budget meetings, the year before two, this year at least eight, many of them at 6 p.m. If choosing to keep a job and provide for my family and employees is willful neglect, then maybe the council was right in overturning the will of the voters.

Now some might say, Stu missed regular meetings too. Again this is true; unfortunately, that darn job kept me longer than anticipated and in case one is wondering, there is limited cell service in the mountains around Libby. Also in the pre-prepared resolution to remove me, it was stated that I had missed three consecutive regular scheduled meetings. City of Libby code says that regularly scheduled meetings shall be the first Monday of each month unless that day is a holiday. It strikes me as a bit odd that the August meeting that had to be rescheduled due to the absence of three council people should be considered as two regular meetings.

I think if one were to look at this case with a totally open mind they might see a lot of bullheadedness and a lot of pride. I refused to go to my peers hat in hand and beg forgiveness for missing meetings I was unable to attend. The mayor and some on the council decided that since I did not show the proper respect and humility toward them that it would be in the best interest of the citizens of Libby if they appoint someone to better represent the voters.

In closing I would like to make a few final observations:

1. Never once, prior to the night of the vote to remove me from my elected seat, did any member of the council or the mayor speak to me concerning my attendance or so-called neglect.

2. The constitution of the state of Montana, which all council persons and the mayor are sworn to uphold, states that a two-thirds majority is required to impeach an elected official.

3. Are the people of Libby better served by those who they elect or by those who are appointed by the mayor?

I would like to thank all those who have shown their support in me and let you know that I do not intend on going out without a fight.

Stuart G. Crismore