Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) With six applicants vying to fill a vacant seat representing Ward 2 on the Missoula City Council, members of the council on Monday nominated all six for an interview.

In the mayoral race, the council nominated just six of 18 potential candidates to fill the vacancy left by the late Mayor John Engen.

With all six nominees in play, a random drawing of names set the interview order with Sierra Farmer, Teigan Avery, Derek Hitt, Charles Shane, Jack Rowan and Rebecca Dawson.

City Clerk Marty Rehbein said the process will remain the same as in past past appointments. A final candidate must be named 30 days after the vacancy, which was left by Jordan Hess, the city's new mayor, in mid-September.

Interviews are slated for Wednesday and will include eight pre-selected questions. A final vote on the nominees takes place next Monday, Oct. 3. Like the mayoral vote, two exact roll-call votes opens the doors to outside nominees.

Two applicants on Monday lobbied for an opportunity to interview, including Avery, who also applied to be mayor, and Rowan, a 28-year resident of Missoula.

“I'll show up for my constituents in Ward 2, and be here to advocate for them every Monday and every Wednesday,” Avery said.

Rowan also spoke on his own behalf.

“I'm excited to be a part of this process,” he said.

The six applicants in order of interview include Sierra Farmer, a 25-year resident of the city who works for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Teigan Avery, a six-year resident of the city works at the Ranch Club Golf Course; and Derek Hitt, a four-year resident of the city who works as a carpenter.

The other three include Charles Shane, a five-year resident of the city who works for Missoula County; Jack Rowan, a 28-year resident of the city who works at Partners in Home Care; and Rebecca Dawson, an eight-year resident of the city who works at Deals on Wheels.

Interviews begin on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

The council interviewed eight applicants to fill a vacant seat in the same ward in 2017 after Ruth Ann Swaney resigned to move back to North Dakota. Mirtha Becerra, a sitting council member who has since won her election, was appointed to the seat.

In the past, Ward 2 council members have proven both pragmatic and moderate voters who support the city's goals around housing, climate and crisis intervention while also supporting smart growth, private development and business opportunities.