Montana Public Radio

Bozeman Mayor Resigns Following Allegations Of Bullying, Interference

Sep 10, 2020
Originally published on September 9, 2020 6:25 pm

Bozeman’s mayor resigned on Sept. 9 after allegations of bullying city staff and interfering with city administration.

In a press release from the city, Chris Mehl thanked voters for the opportunity to serve Bozeman and said he had tried to be “proactive and prepared” in his role as mayor but other city commissioners didn’t see it that way.

“It’s been an honor to serve Bozeman for more than ten years, and I thank the voters for that repeated opportunity. I care deeply about our community. While I was working to be a proactive and prepared representative under the city charter, other commissioners do not see it that way.”

“Bozeman has many challenges before it, and I don’t want to disrupt critical work on behalf of the citizens. I have work to do myself. I also look forward to serving Bozeman in other ways.”

Mehl’s resignation comes less than 24 hours after a special meeting where city commissioners discussed dozens of emails and complaints released by a Bozeman law firm last week. The documents allege Mehl repeatedly violated the city charter, which says the commissioners and mayor can’t give orders to employees that work for the city manager or attend meetings for city staff.

The documents also included allegations of bullying.

Former City Manager Andrea Surratt said in a recent email to one of the commissioners that Chris Mehl undermined her authority and made her job extremely difficult. She said Mehl’s repeated violation of the city charter was a key factor in her decision to resign last year.

Interim City Manager Dennis Taylor said Chris Mehl is a “smart, dedicated and tireless elected official” but also repeatedly interfered with his duties and responsibilities and bullied staff.

Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus will be sworn in as mayor on Sept. 9 evening and assume the role immediately.

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