Helena officials begin negotiations with city manager finalist

Helena city officials said Wednesday they will begin talks with interim City Manager Tim Burton to finalize an employment agreement in the coming days for him to officially become the permanent city manager.

Burton was selected Tuesday night by the city commissioners from among three finalists.

Officials said in an email Wednesday that should negotiations result in an agreement, it will then go to the city commission for approval. Burton declined to comment Wednesday pending the continuing agreement discussions with city officials.

Burton was contacted Tuesday night by a “commission representative” to inform him of the city commission decision, the city stated on its website. The remaining finalists were contacted as well.

The commissioners selected Burton with a 5-0 vote after an hour of closed-door deliberation over fellow finalists for the job Clifford Strachan of South Jordan, Utah, and Michael Thomas of Amity, Oregon.

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The interview process included public discussions with the Helena Citizens’ Council, city department heads and the commission.

Burton, serving as interim city manager since the departure of former City Manager Rachel Harlow-Schalk more than a year ago, also held the job as city manager from 2000 to 2009.

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