Rob Gannon has been hired as Missoula’s new Chief Financial Officer, according to a press release from the City of Missoula.

Gannon, who is moving to Missoula from Seattle, formerly worked for the University of Montana.

“I had the good fortune of working in the city of Missoula for many years and became very close to it,” said Gannon. “The city presents an opportunity that is very intriguing to me. It is a great place and a beautiful place, and it is also a city that faces all the same challenges as a big city or a big region.”

Gannon said even though Missoula is much smaller that Seattle, it presents similar challenges in funding city services.

“That is also accompanied by the challenges of homelessness, and the challenges of providing more services with unstable revenue,” he said. “There’s also the contemporary challenges of diversity and inclusion in our communities, of understanding how to support law enforcement as they support public safety. All those things really resonate with me.”

Gannon reflected on being the Chief Financial Officer in a city whose state has no sales tax to augment property taxes.

“The taxing structure of Montana is arguably better than it is here in the State of Washington, but it’s also one that provides limited opportunities,” he said. “I would love to see property tax relief, but I’d also like to see a balanced taxing system that creates a fair opportunity both for government and residents to get the services that need.”

Gannon also recognized the fact that many elderly residents are being forced out of their homes due to rising property taxes, and wants to find a way to address the situation to the benefit of all.

“Looking at that group as a targeted segment of the population and finding ways to support them,” he said. “Without having the specifics, I think when you can identify a population in need, then government has the obligation to try to figure out how to serve those people. Short of a specific solution, I’d welcome the opportunity to sit down with them, listen to their concerns and then start working in partnership with the mayor, the city council and others to really figure out how to bring relief to communities with the greatest need.”

Gannon is a graduate of the University of Montana and most recently served as general manager of King County (Washington) Metro, the transit agency serving the greater Seattle area, where he was responsible for the operation, strategy, planning and financial health of a 5,000-employee organization serving millions of residents.