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City Treasurer Cobb resigns
Longtime Dillon City Treasurer Ty Cobb’s tumultuous last three months in City Hall culminated last week with his retirement from a job many believed he no longer actually held.
Announced at last Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Cobb retired earlier that evening in a letter dated April 2 and delivered to Dillon Mayor Mike Klakken a short time before the April 2 City Council meeting began.
“I just got this late tonight that Mr. Cobb has put in his resignation from treasurer,” Klakken told the Council.
Appointed to another two-year term by then-Mayor Marty Malesich in January 2012, Cobb saw that term expire at the beginning of this year. But Cobb flew in the face of hundreds of years of American political tradition and practice to insist that he could only be removed from the appointed job for just cause.
Seven of eight Dillon City Council members sided with Cobb and refused to consent to current Mayor Mike Klakken’s appointment of a successor to Cobb, Neal D. Straus, at the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.
At that meeting, City Council meeting, Councilperson and Judiciary Committee Chair Lynn Westad contended that replacing Cobb with Straus could open Dillon to an expensive legal fight, based on her reading of a recent Butte lawsuit.
Klakken had offered to keep Cobb employed at the same rate of compensation through the end of March to help train his successor.
But Cobb chose instead to mount a legal fight to remain city treasurer for that time and hired Missoula attorney Sherine D. Fernando, who appeared unannounced at the Feb. 5 City Council meeting to warn Dillon, “I want the city to be on notice that they are subject to the Wrongful Discharge of Employment Act if they terminate Mr. Cobb’s employment without good cause.”
Fernando’s reasoning was disputed by two local attorneys present at that meeting, including Adam Shaw, of Dillon law firm Erb & Suenram, which was hired by Klakken to look into the legal arguments on both sides of the dispute.
But a majority of the City Council continued to back Cobb and affirmed their belief by again refusing to consent to the appointment of Straus, by a vote of 4 to 5.
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