Filing closed for city election; officials working to certify candidates for ballot
Filing in the city election closed June 21 and so far, there are two candidates for mayor and eight for City Commission.
Two commission candidates, Kendall Cox and Paige Turoski, didn’t file required paperwork within five days of filing, but the county elections office is working with those candidates to get their paperwork turned in.
Lynn Deroche in the county elections office said the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices office indicated that those candidates would be certified to be on the ballot once they get their paperwork submitted.
If they don’t submit the paperwork, it could cancel the primary election, according to the county elections office.
The two candidates for mayor are: Bob Kelly, incumbent, and Fred Burow.
The candidates for commission are: Cox, Turoski, Joshua Copeland, Vanessa Hayden, Susan Wolff, Joe McKenney, Eric Hinebauch and Greg Schoby.
Write-in filing ends July 12. Any write-in names on the city ballot aren’t considered unless the person is a registered write-in candidate.
If all eight candidates are certified to be on the ballot and a primary is held, ballots will be mailed Aug. 30 and the election is Sept. 14.
The general election will be by mail in November and ballots will be mailed Oct. 18.
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.
Burow, served two terms as a City Commissioner before dropping out of the race for reelection in 2017 and filed last week to challenge Bob Kelly, who is seeking a fourth term as mayor. Kelly was previously a city commissioner.
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.