Helena City Manager candidates participate in final set of interviews

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Posted at 9:53 AM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 11:53:54-05

HELENA — The City of Helena's search for a new city manager is almost over. The three finalists for the position are undergoing their last set of interviews before the city's final decision on who gets the position.

The Helena Citizens Council met the three finalists Tuesday at Bill Roberts Golf Course for the first series of interviews that would be conducted over two days.

The three candidates for Helena city's next city manager are Clifford Strachan, Tim Burton, and Michael Thomas.

The first interview of the day was with Strachan.

Strachan has experience working for the Utah Governor's Office as well as an associate director of the Municipal Services Group in South Jordan, Utah.

He recently served as the chief administrative officer of Sandy, Utah. He emphasized leadership and stability.

"I think it's important to have stability in the organization and make sure that the staff have the leadership and the resources that they need to do what the citizens and commission of the city want them to do," said Strachan.

Tim Burton was the second candidate interviewed.

Burton served as the Helena city manager from 2000 to 2009 and is the current interim city manager for Helena, a position he has held for about a year.

Burton tells me that he's become invested in the position and that Helena is his community.

"I was asked to come in and consider helping out as interim city manager. And after talking with commissioners, the mayor chose to do that. It's my community. I've worked here in the past. I feel very strongly that the city operate in a effective and efficient way. And so I thought, yeah, if you'd want me to come back and help, I will," said Burton.

Michael Thomas was the last candidate interviewed.

Thomas currently serves as the city manager for the city of Amity, Oregon.

Prior to his time in Amity, Thomas served in the United States Air Force.

Thomas noted the turnover in the Helena city manager position in the past several years, and also spoke about bringing stability and building consensus in navigating change.

"I've understood there's been some churn with the city leadership recently, so ensuring that my city staff, if I get the job that they're taking care of, that their stability that we go back to getting the processes stabilized and that they realize that the that we're going to move forward together, making the correct changes, whether they're incremental or big changes," said Thomas.

Since the city manager position was opened in 2018, six people have served the position.