Government study commissioner wraps up its work

Charlie Denison

Chairman of the Local Government Review Study Commission Alexzandra Dunnington holds a copy of the final report proposing a change in Lewistown’s city government from commission-manager to mayor-chief administrative officer-commission.
Photo by Charlie Denison


The Local Government Review Study Commission for the City of Lewistown has officially released its final report.

Almost done with their duty to “study the existing form and powers of the local government and procedures for delivery of local government services and compare them with other forms available under law of the state,” the five commissioners are still meeting, but a majority of the work is behind them and is available for the public to read.

In the final report, the commission concludes by recommending a form of government with an elected mayor, a city commission directing the city and a Chief Administrative Officer appointed by the mayor with advice from the commission. The CAO would effectively help the mayor with 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 report states.

According to the report, commissioners “sought advice and information from as many people in the community as possible” and they “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.”

On Monday evening, they met for the first time after approving the final report. One member from the public was present. There was some discussion on what salary the mayor would make if the form of government were changed. That is still uncertain, and the government study commissioners cannot decide his/her wage, according to Government Study Chair Alexzandra Dunnington,

“In the charter, city commissioners are the ones who set the wages,” Dunnington said. “They are the ones who approve the budget. The commission is always involved when it comes to wages.”

During the meeting, commissioners also talked of ways to educate the public on their recommended form of government. Chair Alexzandra Dunnington said what’s most important is to encourage the public to come hear Montana State University Local Government Center Director Dan Clark speak about the process and help the community understand the process and again break down the forms of government.

“Our job isn’t done yet,” Government Study Commission member Dick Krillenberger said.

Their job, however, is closer to completion, as all of the ballot language has been turned in to Fergus County and their recommendation is ready to appear on the November ballot.

The group will continue to meet to go over details and continue to hear from members of the public.

Commissioners recommend those attending and those not attending meetings to read the final report. They are available at the City office on West Watson Street, the Lewistown Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce and online through the commission’s Facebook page and webiste; their next meeting will take place Friday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Civic Center.





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