Dubois Mayor unleashed attack on newspaper at council meeting

A view from the audience at the Dubois Town Council meeting held Feb. 29th.

By June Bonasera, County10.com

(Dubois) – With five items listed on the agenda for the regularly scheduled Feb. 29th Dubois Town Council meeting, it should have been a short and sweet meeting. It wasn’t.

The meeting began with an invitation by Mayor Twila Blakeman for members of the 15 person audience to address the council. Responding was Dubois resident Jim Wade who spoke in support of the Dubois Assisted Living Project (not on the meeting agenda) and in support of passing Dubois Ordinance 402 (on the meeting agenda and detailed below).  No other audience member came forward.

Mayor Blakeman then read a one page prepared statement addressed to the citizens of Dubois which was a rebuttal by the mayor to a front page February 23rd Dubois Frontier article  titled “Opinions differ regarding risks to Town” by Frontier Editor Christine Smith and her editorial in the same issue titled “Let’s play with a full deck.” Both were written in reference to the previous discussions of legal and fiduciary implications created by subordinating the Town of Dubois to the Assisted Living Facility loan and the differing opinions offered by the Mayor, Town Attorney and the Wyoming Business Council. One statement that drew the ire of the mayor from the newspaper account  was this: “According to WBC West Central Regional Director Roger Bower, the Wyoming Attorney general’s opinion was that the Town may be liable, at the discretion of the WBC.” Bower was present at the Wednesday’s meeting and he respectfully declined to respond to the mayor’s criticism.

Included in the mayor’s statement were phrases which included “…a firestorm of misunderstanding has hit”, and “this is a gross misunderstanding” in reference to statements made in the article and editorial.

A lengthy and heated discussion ensued, led by the Mayor, who engaged audience members in a question and answer session regarding statements made in the aforementioned article and editorial before proceding with the published and approved agenda.

The Feb. 29th Dubois Town Council meeting attracted 15 audience members.

In business conducted at the meeting:

– Councilors approved a $174 expense for the purchase of 100 trees from Fourth Grade Foresters USA to be given to Dubois elementary/middle school students for Arbor Day activities;

– Approval was given after the first reading of Town Ordinance 402-an ordinance amending section 10-5-1 of the Dubois Town Code pertaining to the prohibition of use, possession or sale  of Marijuana, its derivatives or synthetic equivalents. After discussion by council and members of the audience, the first draft of the amendment prepared by Town Attorney Rick Sollers was passed. Thirteen specific drugs and three additional drugs categories were listed in the draft amendment;

– The council approved lease renewals for three town-owned buildings;

– The accounts payable list was approved as submitted; and

– A final payment for Con-Ed and payment for aviation fuel at the Dubois Municipal Airport was approved;

Also on the agenda was a discussion of impacts of the Togwotee Trail road construction project.  It was recommended by the Mayor to allocate funds from the 2012/2013 Dubois Town budget to market the road completion.  A Wind River Visitors’ Council board member in the audience informed Mayor and Town Council that discussions have been held between WYDOT and WRVC to allocate a portion of remaining funds from WYDOT’s Togwotee Trail to Yellowstone ad campaign to announce the road completion. It was also noted that the 2012/2013 WRVC budget included funding for a marketing campaign for the highway completion.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 9 p.m.

For background information on the Assisted Living Facility, click on the links below to read previous County10.com reports: