Missoula City Council: Applications open for Swaney’s Ward 2 seat

Ruth Ann Swaney

If you live in Missoula’s Ward 2 neighborhoods, you have until 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 20 to apply for Ruth Ann Swaney’s soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Missoula City Council.

Swaney recently announced her resignation, saying she is moving home to North Dakota where she’ll take a new position with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in the tribal education department.

Her resignation is effective Nov. 7.

Ward 2 includes city neighborhoods west of North Russell Street, including Pleasant View, 44 Ranch and Flynn Ranch, Ranch Club Estates, Grant Creek and Missoula’s Westside. Here’s a link to the ward map.

Swaney was appointed to the council seat in January, after former councilman Harlan Wells moved to Helena to take a job in state government. Her name will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, as her resignation came after the ballots were printed.

The deadline also has passed for anyone to file for the seat as a write-in candidate.

Those realities set up the appointment by City Council members, and the following process outlined in a memo from city clerk Marty Rehbein.

Swaney’s Ward 2 seat will be filled by appointment only for the remainder of Wells’ original term, which runs until the first Monday in January 2020.

To apply, candidates must complete an application form online on the city of Missola website at this link – Ward 2 City Council application – or pick up a form at the city clerk’s office in City Hall, 435 Ryman St., Missoula.

Applications must be received in the city clerk’s office on or before Friday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. Late applications cannot be accepted.

A qualified applicant must be

  • a U.S. citizen,
  • a citizen of Montana,
  • a resident of Ward 2 for 60 days before the appointment,
  • a qualified elector registered and eligible to vote under state law, and
  • at least 18 years of age.

At the Oct. 23 City Council meeting, each council member in attendance will be allowed to select one applicant for an interview. The order of the interviews will then be randomly determined by drawing candidate names during the same meeting.

Interviews will be conducted by the City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, if necessary. Once City Council interviews of applicants have been completed, the council will select a Ward 2 representative at the Nov. 6 council meeting.

A majority vote of the entire City Council membership is required for an applicant to be appointed. The term of office will begin upon the swearing in of the council’s appointee.

The Ward 2 seat will again be on the city general election ballot in November 2019, open to all qualified candidates. The person elected in 2019 will serve a four-year term of office that will begin on the first Monday in January 2020.

City Council members are paid $1,249.23 per month, plus city benefits.

Applicants for the vacancy should contact Rehbein if they have questions about the process, requirements or job description. She’s available at 552-6078 or by email at mrehbein@ci.missoula.mt.us.