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Jeff Mihelich

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Commissioners’ first pick for the city of Bozeman’s top employee has taken the city’s offer.

Jeff Mihelich will begin his new job as Bozeman city manager on May 26. Mihelich will move from Fort Collins, Colorado, where he has been deputy city manager and chief operating officer since 2014.

City commissioners unanimously picked Mihelich for the job on April 20. At the time, they said Mihelich’s experience made him stand out. He was the only applicant the city named from the list of finalists brought before commissioners.

“There was one person who stood above the rest, and I would say head and shoulders above the rest,” Commissioner Terry Cunningham said before the April 20 vote.

Mihelich has worked in city government and community planning for more than 28 years, 13 of which were in top-level management.

The five-person Bozeman commission determines the city’s rules and policies, and the city manager leads the city of Bozeman’s workforce in seeing the commission’s direction through. The city manager is the one city employee commissioners hire and oversee.

In his application, Michelich outlined experience in dealing with the challenges and benefits that fast-growing cities face. In Fort Collins, he worked on issues related to population growth, access to housing, climate change policies and homeless services.

Before his time in Colorado, Mihelich was the assistant city manager in Surprise, Arizona, for more than 12 years.

He will make a base salary of $183,000 in his first year in Bozeman and is due to get a $10,000 increase on May 26, 2021. Mihelich will also receive up to $24,000 to go toward a housing allowance each year and $6,000 for transportation costs.

Interim City Manager Dennis Taylor has said the contract was designed so that Michelich will stay with the city of Bozeman for years to come.

Bozeman has been without a permanent city manager since December, when Andrea Surratt announced she was leaving the position for a job in Georgia that paid more and was closer to family.

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Katheryn Houghton can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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