The process to replace the late Missoula City Mayor John Engen is advancing to the point where there are now six people vying for the seat that will be chosen by the city council as a whole.
We spoke to Missoula City Councilwoman Sandra Vasecka on Tuesday’s Talk Back show with details about the nomination process.
“We had 10 days to get candidates and anyone eligible over the age of 21 who was a legal voter and lived within the city limit and had lived in Montana for at least three years and in Missoula for two years was eligible,” said Vasecka. “Anyone living within Missoula city limits who was eligible could apply.”
Vasecka provided more detailed information about the people who were chosen as finalists to be interviewed for the position.
“We received 19 applications,” Vasecka began. “I believe one person turned out to live in the county, so we had 18 final applications. Then on Monday evening, each council member was able to nominate one person to move forward. I nominated Jacob Elder to go through the interview process. That’s how we ended up with Jacob Elder, (Councillors) Jordan Hess and Mike Nugent, as well as Patrick Weaselhead, Fred Rice and Teigan Avery.
Vasecka explained his choice of Jacob Elder to be the next mayor.
“I named Jacob Elder,” she said. “I supported him during the municipal campaign last year,” she said. “As I said last night, even though I haven’t made a final decision yet because it would be unfair before the interview process, I want to see what he has. I want to see him finish what he has. started. So I’m excited to hear all the interviews next week.”
Elder ran against the late Mayor Engen in the last election and was defeated.
Vasecka said September 7 was set aside for final candidate interviews.
“Next Wednesday will be the interview process; it’s next Wednesday at the committee of the whole meeting,” she said. “We’re going to interview them all day, I believe, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and then I think the week after that’s when we’re going to make our final decision.”
City Attorney Jim Nugent told us that the two city councilors who were chosen, Jordan Hess and Mike Nugent, are allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice on September 7, just like any candidate is allowed to vote for himself when he enters the voting booth. Jim Nugent is the father of Mike Nugent.
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