City delays library board reappointment
The city is seeking applicants for two vacancies on the Library Board.
There is currently an opening for a full five-year term and another for a partial term through June 30, 2024.
These vacancies are for the city appointed seats so applicants should be city residents.
The library board has five members who advise, recommend and advocate for the library.
The board also includes ex-officio members, one a city commissioner and one a county commissioner.
The library board meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m.
Applications are available in the city manager’s office at the Civic Center, by calling 406-455-8450 or online.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 11.
City Commissioners opted during their July 18 meeting not to reappoint a current board member for one of those positions to have a further discussion about the board appointment process.
During the July 18 commission meeting, several commissioners said they wanted to review the appointment process.
Currently, the city operates under a resolution adopted by commissioners in 2018 that doesn’t require publicly advertising for a board vacancy if an existing member is eligible and interested in serving another term.
The resolution does not require commissioners to reappoint those members to the city’s advisory boards.
During the July 18 meeting, several commissioners said they wanted to amend that resolution to publicly advertise all board vacancies.
“This is a simple solution,” Commissioner Rick Tryon said.
During their July 5 meeting, commissioners reappointed two people to the Business Improvement District board.
Those positions were not publicly advertised and no commissioner raised concern about the process.
In spring 2022, the city advertised for a library board vacancy and received one applicant.
In July 2022, commissioners reappointed Whitney Olson to the library board.
The city did not advertise that position, nor did any commissioner or member of the public raise concern about the reappointment process during that meeting.
Commissioner Joe McKenney said he was asked during the library levy debate who sets policy for the library and that’s the library board, which meets publicly.
The bulk of the library funding comes from the city, but the county also contributes to library operations and the library receives some funding from the Montana State Library and through private donations.
Commissioner Eric Hinebauch said he’d prefer to reappoint Anne Bulger to the board and voted against delaying the reappointment.
Commissioner Susan Wolff said commissioners wanted to review the appointment process for all city boards.
City Manager said some city boards are hard to fill.
Several years ago, the city planning board struggled to get enough applicants and meet quorum requirements. At the time, it was a nine-member board and to remedy the issue, commissioners reduced it to a seven member board.
The city parking board has long struggled with getting enough applicants and officials are discussing reducing it from a five to three member board.
The city makes appointments to 19 advisory boards.
Doyon said it’s still up to commissioners whether they interview applicants for any advisory board.