Town mayor resigns post
Jan. 9, 2003
Amy Boyes
Staff Writer

Just over year ago Del. Tawanna Gaines (D-Dist. 22) of Berwyn Heights resigned as the town's mayor to accept a state appointment to the Legislature. The town now has lost another mayor.

Bradley Jewitt stepped down as Berwyn Heights mayor Wednesday following the town's January meeting. The Marine Corps reservist, who was activated as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, said due to the nature and duration of his orders he feels it is in the best interest of the town to resign.

"I can't commit to the town the way I have for the last year," he said. "I think the right thing to do is step aside and allow someone who can [to do the job]."

Jewitt, 33, has served the Marine Corps for more than 13 years. Jewitt completed his active duty in August 2001. He has been a member of the Marine Corps reserves assigned to the Marine Corps Office of Legislative Affairs in the District since February 2001.

Jewitt's activation is considered an involuntary mobilization and calls for at least a year of service. The Marine Corps can retain him for up to two years.

"I will be serving in an assignment that will keep me relatively close to home," he said.

Jewitt also will be pulled out of his position of facilities officer at the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters for his assignment.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Jewitt was first appointed to fill the vacancy left by Gaines in February. The Town Council made the decision to appoint Jewitt, but voters also gave him their support. He received 385 votes in the town's May election, which secured him the mayoral position.

As a reservist, Jewitt said, he knew it was a possibility to be called to duty. "I have mixed emotions," he said. "In some ways, it's surreal. The council has filled so much of my time for a year."

Although there is still a lot he would like to accomplish on the Town Council, Jewitt said, "My country's called, and that's now the priority."

His resignation is not necessarily the end of his town political career. When he returns from active duty, Jewitt said he will re-evaluate whether to run for council again.

"I've put a lot of hard work into the town. I'm a resident. My home is there," he said. "I'm certainly [open] to the idea of coming back."

As the result of Jewitt's departure, Patti Dennison will become the new mayor. Dennison was first elected to the Town Council in May. With 317 votes, she became mayor pro tem.

Dennison said she is excited about the new challenge. "I'm looking forward to it," she said. "I think I'll probably have a lot to learn. I'm prepared to learn it."

The Town Council has to vote on the appointment of a resident to fill the vacant position on the council. If it is not able to come to an agreement within 45 days, there will be a special election.

Dennison said the town's immediate focus would be to fill the town administrator and council member positions. The council plans to send out a mailer to residents notifying them of Jewitt's departure and the qualifications for those interested in applying for the vacant council position. Applications will be due by 5 p.m. Feb. 2.

"I'm trying to do what's in the best interest of the town," he said. "We have so much unfinished business. Things that I wanted to do that I'm not going to be able to do."

The Town Council has been working on a CIP, and Jewitt said he has drafted a fiscal policy that he will leave with the council. He envisioned a committee of residents taking part in the master plan process.

Although Berwyn Heights does not deal with the issues of a larger municipality, there is a need to be as efficient as possible because of the limited tax base and revenue, he said. "Administratively we have to be as responsible as we can," Jewitt said.

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