The process to replace the late City of Missoula Mayor John Engen is moving along to the point where there are now six individuals vying for the seat that will be chosen by the City Council as a whole.

We talked to Missoula City Councilor Sandra Vasecka on Tuesday’s Talk Back show with details on the nomination process.

“We had 10 days to get applicants and anybody who was eligible who was over 21, a legal voter and lived in the city limit and has lived in Montana for at least three years and in Missoula for two years was eligible,” said Vasecka. “Anybody who lives in the Missoula city limits that was eligible could apply.”

Vasecka provided more detailed information about the individuals who have been chosen as finalists to be interviewed for the position.

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“We got 19 applications,” began Vasecka. “I believe one person turned out to live in the county, so we had 18 final applications. Then Monday night each council member was able to nominate one person to move forward. I nominated Jacob Elder to move forward to the interview process. So that's how we ended up with Jacob Elder, (city councilors) Jordan Hess and Mike Nugent, along with Patrick Weaselhead, Fred Rice and Teigan Avery.”

Vasecka explained her choice of Jacob Elder to be the next mayor.

"I nominated Jacob Elder," she said. "I supported him in the last year's mayoral campaign," she said. "Like I said last night, while I haven't made a final decision yet, because that would be unfair before the interview process, I do I want to see what he's got. I want to see him finish what he started. So I'm excited to hear all the interviews next week."

Elder ran against the late Mayor Engen in the last election and was defeated.

Vasecka said September 7 has been set aside for the interviews for the final applicants.

“Next Wednesday will be the interview process; that’s next Wednesday at the Committee of the Whole meeting,” she said. “We're going to be interviewing them all day I believe from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and then I believe the week after that is when we're going to make our final decision.”

City Attorney Jim Nugent told us that both of the city councilors that were chosen, Jordan Hess and Mike Nugent, are allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice on September 7, just as any candidate is allowed to vote for themselves when they enter the voting booth. Jim Nugent is Mike Nugent's father.

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