Missoula County Commissioners Intend to Appoint Elections Administrator [AUDIO]
Missoula County Commissioners are considering moving the duties of elections administrator from the office of Clerk and Recorder to an appointed position.
Current Clerk and Recorder and Elections Administrator Vickie Zeier was recently named Chief Administrator of the county. She describes the reasoning behind making the elections administrator a non-elected position.
"The main reason is to get this office out of a partisan situation into a non-partisan position," Zeier said. "Personally, I've had to run elections and campaign at the same time, and it's extremely difficult. Elections need to be run in a non-partisan manner because it's just so important to the integrity of the process that the elections administrator not be chosen through a partisan election."
Zeier said even though the county commissioners have the authority to unilaterally make that change, they will ask for public comment, nonetheless.
"They will be asking for public comment, and they'll have a public hearing, even though they don't have to," Zeier said. "They'll hear what the public says, and then make a decision."
Zeier said she has a suggestion for the soon-to-be-created position of elections administrator.
"For the last two years, I've been training my chief deputy Rebecca Connors, and she already is the go-to person when it comes to elections," Zeier said. "She is the most qualified for the position, however, after their public hearing, the county commissioners will set up that criteria, which I believe will happen after May 14th. I felt that if the commissioners were serious about making this change we need to do it before the primary election is completed. I feel it is very important that we are very open about this process and the transparency, I believe, is critical."