City Hall File

The sun shines on Bozeman City Hall in this file photo.

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For the second time in the past year, Bozeman is beginning the process to fill a vacancy on the city commission.

Commissioner Michael Wallner resigned this past week about a year after he first took his office, citing the job’s time commitment. The city is planning a similar process to fill his seat to what was used this past fall when former Mayor Chris Mehl resigned and left an open spot on the commission.

The city announced Monday the commission may choose Wallner’s replacement as soon as April 6. The commission is required to fill the vacant seat by April 11.

The appointed term will run through the end of the year. The commission seat will be available during the November elections for the rest of Wallner’s term, which runs through 2023.

In early October, 20 people applied to fill the rest of Mehl’s term. The four remaining city commissioners at a marathon meeting on Oct. 7 selected Planning Board member Jennifer Madgic to fill the seat, which is also up for election this November.

Another applicant, Christopher Coburn, received the vast majority of public comments, but city commissioners acknowledged Madgic’s planning and governmental experience when selecting her for the seat.

“It’s definitely likely that I’ll seek the appointment as a way to serve the community sooner while I continue the campaign for the election in November,” Coburn said Monday of the vacancy left by Wallner.

Besides Wallner’s empty seat, two other four-year commission positions are up for election in November, as is the mayor’s term that would start in 2024. Candidates elected to the mayoral seat first serve two years as deputy mayor.

Candidates filing for the elections are required to specify which seat they are running for, according to the city.

Wallner said in an email to announcing his resignation that the commission’s time commitment was leaving him “spread too thin.”

“I am concerned that my resignation may send an unintentional message to others in our community who may aspire to public service on the Bozeman City Commission,” Wallner wrote. “I strongly encourage my fellow citizens to continue to find ways to serve our community, including as an elected official.”

Coburn, who works for Bozeman Health, said he is not concerned about the time commitment required for the job, saying he already spends a lot of time outside of work on volunteering and community projects.

Candidates interested in being considered for appointment to the city commission must send a statement of interest and qualifications to the city by March 29.

According to the city, candidates must have a primary residence in Bozeman, be registered voters and be eligible to hold office in Montana. More information is on the city’s website.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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