One week remains to file with 7 commission candidates; mayor unchallenged
With one week remaining to file in the city election, there are seven candidates for commission and one for mayor.
Filing opened April 22 and so far, Kendall Cox, Susan Wolff, Joe McKenney, Eric Hinebauch, Greg Schoby, Paige Turoski and Joshua Copeland have filed for the two open seats on the City Commission.
Mayor Bob Kelly is currently unopposed as he seeks a fourth term.
Two City Commission seats, which are four year terms, and the mayor’s seat, which is a two-year term, are on this year’s ballot, plus all 45 neighborhood council seats.
Filing is open until June 21.
Commissioners Mary Moe and Owen Robinson have both said they are not seeking re-election.
The election is a November mail ballot and the number of candidates determines whether a primary is required.
The county attorney’s office has advised the elections office that at this point, a primary is not needed, though in 2019, the county attorney’s office told the elections office said that seven candidates for two commission seats would require a primary. The Electric is continuing to ask about a primary to confirm.
Candidates must also file certain paperwork with the state for their name to appear on the ballot.
Once the filing period closes next week, the county elections office will send the list to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices to certify whether they are eligible to appear on the ballot.
Each of the city’s nine Neighborhood Councils has five seats each for two-year terms.
All newly elected officials take office in January.
Per city code, the salary of each commissioner is $312 per month and the mayor’s monthly salary is $468.
Anyone interested must complete a Declaration for Nomination and Oath of Candidacy form at the Cascade County Election Office, 325 2nd Ave. N.
To be eligible for any of the positions, candidates must be residents of Great Falls and be registered to vote.
Those seeking a commission seat must be a resident of Great Falls for at least 60 days preceding the election. Mayoral candidates must be at least 21 years of age and have been a resident of Montana for at least three years and a resident of Great Falls for at least two years preceding the election, according to the City Clerk’s office.
Nominees for election to a Neighborhood Council must be residents of their designated neighborhood district.
The fees to file are $56.16 for mayor, $37.44 for commissioner and $0 for Neighborhood Council representatives.
If the Cascade County Election Administrator determines that a primary election needs to be held, the primary election ballots will be mailed Aug. 30. Ballots for the municipal general election will be mailed Oct. 18.
The City of Great Falls operates under the Commission-Manager form of government and the commission serves as the city’s legislative and policy-making body. The commission employs the city manager who directs the daily operations of the city. Commission meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month.
In 1996, a Local Government Study Commission recommended the formation of Neighborhood Councils in Great Falls to provide opportunities for citizen involvement in city government. The proposal was placed on the ballot and was approved. Since that time, Neighborhood Councils have operated in an advisory capacity and as liaisons to city staff, the commission and residents. Neighborhood Council meetings take place monthly.
Additional information about the upcoming 2021 municipal election is available here or contact the Cascade County Election Office at 454-6803; Lisa Kunz, city clerk at 455-8451; or, Lanni Klasner, Neighborhood Council liaison, at 455-8496.