(Editor’s note: The story was updated at 10:57 a.m. Wednesday to include comment from Libby Mayor Brent Teske.)
Citing health and family reasons, Libby City Council member Gary Armstrong announced his resignation in a letter dated March 20 and sent to the mayor, council members, local media and the Lincoln County Elections Office. His resignation is effective March 31.
“I will be leaving this position for personal reasons that won’t allow me to fulfill my duties as a City Councilman to the fullest extent needed,” he wrote.
The health reasons Armstrong cites in his letter are a transient ischemic attack — commonly referred to as TIA or ‘mini-stroke’ — he suffered last September, and a bad case of tinnitus that makes it difficult for him to hear and causes him to frequently “lose the thread of a conversation.”
These health issues, in conjunction with the approach of his 74th birthday, have caused Armstrong to realize the need “to pay more attention to my own health.”
“I now realize that this job, especially to an outsider like myself, is a full-time task just to catch up with the local history,” he wrote. “I have worn myself out in the effort, and will now stop and reassess my life.”
Armstrong also cites the ailing health of his 90-year-old father-in-law and his desire to help his wife and mother-in-law care for him.
Armstrong wrote he will miss working with City of Libby staff, Mayor Brent Teske, and his fellow council members.
“I thank them all for helping me find my feet here,” he wrote. “I can only hope that I have been of some value to the City during my short time on Libby City Council.”
When reached Wednesday morning for comment, Teske, who works as deputy director of the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, said he had received the letter only that morning and hadn’t “had the chance to think about it yet.”
Teske said the city can’t seek applicants to fill Armstrong’s vacated seat until after the effective resignation date. Because it falls on a Saturday, he said the city will post notices of the opening on Monday, April 2.
People interested in filling the seat will have about two weeks to apply, after which the City Council will probably schedule a special meeting to conduct interviews and nominate a new member, Teske said.