Chris Mehl, headshot

Current city commissioner Chris Mehl is running against Brian LaMeres for mayor in the upcoming Nov. 7, 2017 election.

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Bozeman Mayor Chris Mehl resigned Wednesday, a day after all four city commissioners asked him to step down over allegations that he bullied city staff and interfered with city administration.

“It’s been an honor to serve Bozeman for more than 10 years, and I thank the voters for that repeated opportunity,” Mehl said in an email announcing his resignation. “While I was working to be a proactive and prepared representative under the city charter, other commissioners do not see it that way.”

Mehl’s resignation went into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus was sworn in as mayor at Bozeman City Hall immediately afterward.

Andrus previously served a two-year tenure as mayor, during which Mehl served as deputy mayor.

“I really believe that it was the right thing for the mayor to do,” Andrus said shortly after learning of Mehl’s resignation. “It was a really unfortunate situation, but I am ready and willing to step up to the job at hand.”

Mehl’s resignation comes after the release of hundreds of documents from a freedom of information request, which appear to show a pattern of bullying and interference in city administration. The documents also show that former city manager Andrea Surratt accepted another job offer in part because of how Mehl treated her.

Also in the hundreds of pages of documents is a report alleging that Mehl “unexpectedly and somewhat aggressively” spun a chair that interim city manager Dennis Taylor was sitting in to make Taylor face him.

At Tuesday night’s commission meeting to discuss Mehl’s behavior, several members of the public and at least one former city employee also detailed situations in which Mehl shouted at and intimidated them.

All four commissioners, Andrus included, said that Mehl has done much good for the city of Bozeman, but that the behavior revealed in the documents was unacceptable.

Commissioners Terry Cunningham and Michael Wallner both said at Tuesday night’s meeting that Mehl was a major reason they ran for city commission and that they both had considered him a mentor.

“It’s disappointing that his tenure came to an end in such a manner, but I believe he made the correct decision,” Cunningham said.

Wallner said he asked Mehl to resign last week after the FOIA documents were released.

“Chris has been a dedicated civil servant, and I thank him for all he has done for the Bozeman community,” Wallner said. “I look forward to moving forward as a city commission in a positive and delicate manner for all Bozemanites.”

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy said she feels Andrus will be successful in her second term as Bozeman’s mayor.

Pomeroy said that she did not start Tuesday night’s meeting intending to ask Mehl to resign, but instead was going to propose a six-month probation period. However, after listening to her fellow commissioners and public comment, Pomeroy said she decided the issue was not one a probation period would fix.

“He has heart for our community and he works tirelessly for our community,” Pomeroy said. “He has all the skills that leaders should have, he does, except those two: respecting others and treating other people with kindness.”

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at or at (406) 582-2651.

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