Missoula City Council nominates 6 of 18 candidates for mayoral interviews
Martin Kidston/Missoula Current
The lobbying to select Missoula's next mayor kicked off in earnest on Monday as members of the City Council nominated six applicants to interview for the position.
Of the 18 applicants who met the filing deadline and job requirements, only six were nominated by a council member to move on to interviews.
Those who did make a nomination said Missoula needed someone in the interim who was familiar with city policy and could step in as “seamlessly as possible.” One said the city needed a “moderate voice” and another called for a “younger voice.”
The following council members nominated the following applicants in the following order:
Amber Sherrill nominated Jordan Hess.
“This is a really big decision for us. I was elected to do what I believe is right for the city. I take that decision very seriously. This is the time to appoint a candidate we believe is the best applicant for our community right now, but I believe in the democratic process. Next November, all our voters will decide who our next mayor will be. I believe we need to appoint a mayor who can step in as seamlessly as possible.”
Jennifer Savage, who was traveling, nominated Mike Nugent.
“It would be a disservice to Mike for me to try and speak toward his qualifications right now.”
Stacie Anderson nominated Patrick Weasel Head.
“He brings a diverse lived experience as well as previous council experience. We'd benefit from having a deeper conversation with him just outside the application.”
Daniel Carlino nominated Teigan Avery, who also lobbied for the job on Monday night during public comment.
“It would be important to have a young person's voice and somebody who understands the urgency of the issues, and also to have one applicant who's not a man for a job, that's been held by a man all this time up until Acting Mayor Gwen Jones.”
Sandra Vasecka nominated former mayoral candidate Jacob Elder, who lost handily to the late Mayor John Engen.
“I did endorse Jacob Elder in his mayoral campaign last year. While I have not made a decision yet – that would be unfair – I would like to see him move forward and see him interview with all the councilors. The majority of his values do align with mine. Most of his political leanings align with mine.”
Heidi West nominated Fred Rice.
“There were lots of really awesome candidates here. I think I want to add Fred Rice to the list of interviewees. His resume is pretty impressive, and I'd like to hear more from him.”
The late mayor Engen died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month, and the city is on a narrow timeline under state law to appoint a replacement. Nineteen applicants applied for the job, but only 18 met the requirements.
Of those 18, six were named on Monday to move on to interviews. A random drawing from a hat placed the interviews, which will be conducted by the Montana League of Women Voters, in the following order:
Jacob Elder; Jordan Hess; Fred Rice; Teigen Avery; Mike Nugent; and Patrick Weasel Head. Interviews will be held Sept. 7 starting at 9 a.m. You can read all applications by following this link.
Council members who did not nominate a candidate include Kristen Jordan, who remains absent; Jordan Hess who was nominated; Mike Nugent who was nominated; John Contos; Gwen Jones, who is the acting mayor; and Mirtha Becerra.