Community members encouraged to pick up Gov’t Study report

Charlie Denison


Lewistown’s City Government Study Commission has released their tentative report, which is available for the public to read. They’ve held public hearings and have given the public an opportunity to present their thoughts on the 27-page document.

However, many reports remain in boxes at the Lewistown Public Library, the City office and the Chamber of Commerce well over a month after its release.

“We had about 20 to 25 people pick up reports when they first came out,” Library Director KellyAnne Terry said. “We still have about 45 or 50 of them.”

“We’ve had probably two people pick them up,” Chamber of Commerce employee Liz Fitzpatick said “They are on the counter for people to take.”

Interim City Manager Holly Phelps said the City office has had a similar experience.

“We had one person pick up a tentative report besides a few City officials,” she said.

This poses a question: Does the community know what is in the tentative report?

For those interested, here is a summary:

In the tentative report, the Study Commission recommends switching the form of government from a “Commission-Manager” form of government to “an elected mayor and a City Commission directing the City and a Chief Administrative Officer appointed by the mayor with consent of the City Commission.”

A Chief Executive Officer, the charter explains, “shall help the mayor with the day-to-day operations of the city and other duties delegated to them.”

“This form of government is the best suited to meet the present and future challenges facing the City,” the commission wrote in their summary of recommendations.

Also included in the commission’s summary of recommendations is a City Charter with a “six-member City Commission elected by the existing wards and a mayor elected at large as a seventh non-voting member of the City Commission.” According to the charter, the mayor may only vote to break a tie. In addition, the charter provides for a chief administrative officer “appointed by the mayor with consent of the commission to help with the day-to-day operation of the city.”

According to this report, in order to make their recommendation, the Study Commission sought advice and information from as many people in the community as possible and “visited with various members of the public to explain the work of the commission and also to hear the viewpoints, ideas and concerns of community members.” Thoughts and opinions of those who participated in public hearings and those who attended regular meetings –in addition to the independent study and efforts of the Study Commission – also factored into the commission’s recommendations, according to the tentative report.

These weren’t the only factors, as the government study released its findings and mentioned they were trained by the Montana Local Government Center “regarding the current and available forms of government and careful consideration of public input.”


Chair hopes to hear from public

Government Study Commission Chair Alexzandra Dunnington said she welcomes input from the community.

“We aren’t going to vote on a final report until the Friday, Aug. 5 meeting,” Dunnington said. “We are happy to hear from the public in the meantime.”

A final report is due to Helena by Monday, Aug. 8.

The next meeting is Monday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center at 307 West Watson Street. City residents are encouraged to attend.

Those interested in reading the tentative report can pick them up at the library, the Chamber or download it at





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