Helena Citizens’ Council reps get first crack at city manager candidates

Nolan Lister

Representatives of the Helena Citizens’ Council interviewed the city’s three finalists for the position of city manager Tuesday ahead of interviews with city staff and commissioners.

Four HCC representatives – Ben Kuiper, Patricia Bik, Diana Hammer and Lowell Chandler – leveled questions regarding access to city staff, commitment to the city’s sustainability resolutions, affordable housing and infill development.

Candidates Clifford Strachan of South Jordan, Utah, Michael Thomas of Amity, Oregon, and current interim City Manager Tim Burton each spent 30 minutes answering questions in a small backroom at Muni’s Sports Grille. The interviews were facilitated by Jim Kerins of CMS Consulting, the third-party consultant the city is paying $150 an hour to help hire a city manager.

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins and City Commissioner Sean Logan, the two-man city commission and city manager relations subcommittee, observed the interviews.

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On the topics of civic engagement and transparency, the three candidates agreed they should be a top priority for any public body.

City manager candidate Clifford Strachan answers questions Tuesday during an interview with

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