Commissioner suggests a city manager for Butte

Posted at 2:31 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 17:27:14-04

BUTTE – Some people in Butte government believe it’s time to change the way things are done.

“It’s just time for a review. We’re not prospering the way we should and it’s a good time for a review,” said Butte Commissioner Jim Fisher.

Fisher is suggesting the city should restructure its current form of government, which has been in place for about 40 years, by reducing the number of commissioners and adding a city manager.

“Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, they all have a city manager and it seems to work for them, so why not try it,” said Fisher.

Currently, Butte’s chief executive manages the city’s many departments. A city manager is a trained professional that would be hired by the city to run the daily operations.

“The chief executive is kind of a PR person, where a city manager would be somebody who could operate the city the way that it’s supposed to be run. Like Butte-Silver Bow has 545 or 550 employees and the chief executive has a lot of duties to do besides having to deal with the unions and personnel in the courthouse,” said Fisher.

Fisher adds he doesn’t believe it’s effective to have 12 part-time commissioners on the council. He would rather cut that number in half and make the commission seats full time.

“Each commissioner has 1,500 or so citizens in their districts and the districts for the commissioners are designated by the legislative districts, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea either,” said Fisher.

Fisher will ask the council to form a citizen’s committee to further explore this idea.

Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News