Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) On a 6-3 vote, members of the Missoula City Council elected a new vice president on Monday night, replacing the seat held by the new mayor.

Council member Mirtha Becerra nominated fellow council member Stacie Anderson for the role while council member Sandra Vasecka nominated herself.

Anderson will serve alongside council member Gwen Jones as president and vice president.

“I think she's been wanting to serve, and it's important to have someone who wants to be in that role,” Becerra said when nominating Anderson. “She brings experience and an attitude of collaboration, and I feel confident she'll do a great job alongside Jones in providing guidance to this council, representing this council, and being our council ambassador in this community.”

The vice president fulfills a number of formal duties and has, in recent years, been awarded to the most tenured members of City Council. Anderson won the support of council members Gwen Jones, Mike Nugent, Jennifer Savage, Heidi West, Stacie Anderson and Mirth Becerra.

“I appreciate people throwing their hat in the ring to sign up for more work,” Jones said. “It has typically been based on seniority over the years. I think I'll support (Anderson) on this. I appreciate everyone being willing to serve.”

Council members Kristen Jordan and Daniel Carlino backed Vasecka, as did Vasecka herself. While campaigns for City Council seats are non-partisan, Anderson caucuses as a Democrat and Vasecka as a Republican.

“I also think I'd be good. I've had years of collaborating with folks who don't agree with me. I'd take on this role very seriously,” Vasecka said. “I'd put aside personal beliefs to work together to collaborate.”

Former City Council member Jordan Hess – the council's longest-serving member – held the role as vice president up until last Monday when he was appointed by a council majority to replace the late Mayor John Engen as Missoula's new mayor.

With the new vice president now elected, the council will turn its focus starting this week in replacing Hess' seat representing Ward 2 on the City Council.

“Congratulations (Anderson), I know you'll do a very good job,” Vasecka said after Monday's vote.