By Martin Kidton

Missoula City Council member Harlan Wells has accepted a job as director of business services on incoming Secretary of State Cory Stapleton's new executive team.

Wells, a University of Montana graduate who announced his resignation from the council on Monday, said the opportunity to work at the state level was something he couldn't pass up.

“My wife and I are absolutely beside ourselves,” he said.

Members of the City Council have congratulated Wells on his new appointment and have set a timeline to appoint his replacement. The process was last conducted in 2015 after Ward 4 council member Caitlin Copple resigned her seat to take another job.

That process saw six replacement candidates field questions from the council, including issues ranging from growth and development to the city's attempt to take ownership of Mountain Water Co.

The council eventually chose Patrick Weasel Head over John DiBari in the final round of close voting. The two ran in the following election where DiBari won the seat and holds it currently.

“This will be the third time this has happened since I've been on City Council,” said Ward 6 council member Marilyn Marler. “We're going to start taking applications for 10 business days from qualified candidates.”

To qualify, candidates must live in Ward 2 and qualify to vote. The application process opens on Dec. 28 and runs through Jan. 6. The council will review the applicants and each council member can select one applicant for the interview process.

“We do those interviews during Wednesday's Committee of the Whole,” Marler said. “The last step will be to select a replacement on Monday, Jan. 23.”

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