Ryan selected to fill commission vacancy
Updated Feb. 11 at noon.
Don Ryan has been appointed to fill the vacancy on the County Commission.
The vacancy was created by Jane Weber’s resignation that was effective Jan. 22.
The remaining commissioners Jim Larson and Joe Briggs held a special meeting on Feb. 10 to discuss the three candidates that they interviewed.
The discussion and vote to appoint Ryan took 20 minutes.
There was no public comment on the selection, though 11 members of the public were on the Zoom call.
Ryan will be sworn in at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 16.
Ryan formerly served on the Great Falls Public Schools board of trustees, as a state legislator and had been appointed as the county clerk and recorder when there was a vacancy in that office years ago.
Commissioners also interviewed Amy Rapp and Vanessa Hayden.
Larson and Briggs said that Ryan had the most government experience, particularly with budgets.
Under state law, the commissioners must replace Weber, a Democrat, with someone from the Democratic party. The candidates must have resided in Weber’s district three for at least two years preceding the date of Weber’s retirement.
The Cascade County Democratic Central Committee met Jan. 7 to interview and select three names to forward to the commissioners from a pool of seven candidates who had submitted letters of interest for the position.
The committee forwarded Ryan’s name as well as Casey Schreiner and Helena Lovick, but Schreiner and Lovick dropped out after taking full time employment elsewhere.
Since Schreiner dropped out, commissioners scheduled an interview with the next candidate on the list, which was Rapp. When Lovick dropped out, they scheduled an interview with Hayden.
“This has turned into quite an interesting situation to pick this,” Larson said. “It seemed like in the beginning it would be fairly easy and we could get it done. We know the public is getting inpatient but we want to do this right.”
Larson said that they could go back to the democratic committee for more names, but that would delay the process further.
“I think there’s one here that would fill the bill and we certainly could work with,” Larson said and moved to appoint Ryan.
Briggs said the county would work with Ryan to fill out the necessary paperwork and bring the new commission on board.
Ryan will have to run again in 2022 at the next general election and then again in 2024 to reinstate the district three seat cycle.
The candidates who submitted letters of interest to fill Weber’s seat, according to Donovan, are:
- Casey Schreiner
- Vanessa Hayden
- David Phillips
- Helena Lovick
- Don Ryan
- Amy Rapp
- Randall Knowles