Mayor’s race now contested; primary will be held for commission seats
The race for mayor is now contested.
Fred Burow, who served two terms as a City Commissioner before dropping out of the race for reelection in 2017, has filed to challenge Bob Kelly, who is seeking a fourth term.
Filing closes June 21 for the mayor and commission races.
As of now, there are eight candidates for two commission seats and the county attorney’s office confirmed to the county elections office on June 16 that a primary will be held.
Primary ballots will be mailed Aug. 30.
The general election will be by mail in November and ballots will be mailed Oct. 18.
Filing opened April 22 and so far, Vanessa Hayden, 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.
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.
Commissioners Mary Moe and Owen Robinson have both said they are not seeking re-election.
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.
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.