Commissioners at a stalemate in open seat decision

After interviewing three candidates Nov. 29 for the open commissioner seat in District 1, sitting commissioners Bob Faw and Bill Wallace failed to come to an unanimous agreement on a candidate. The seat will remain open until the Sweet Grass County Republican Central Committee (SGCRCC) sends three more candidates for interviews to the commissioners. 

Faw and Wallace will be holding a second and final round of interviews on Dec. 14 to hear from another three candidates for the position. 

Brooke Metcalf Bare, Donna Wolf and Melanie Roe each applied during 30-minute interviews, answering a handful of questions from the commissioners. On Nov. 30, Wallace made the motion to approve Metcalf Bare to the open position. Without a second, the motion died. The same happened when Faw moved to appoint Roe to the open seat. Wallace did not second the motion.

“I thought all three were very professional, but I thought Brooke was over the top, as far as being prepared” Wallace said. “She didn’t have all the right answers or the wrong answers, but she does represent completely different demographics than Bob and I do, because of our ages.”

Wallace continued with his explanation, stating Brooke’s ability to represent multiple demographics from Sweet Grass County made her his choice for the next commissioner.

“If we don’t give a young person a chance, how do they ever get the chance to do something?” Wallace asked. “You’ve got to give somebody a chance. You can’t hold it against them that they’re a young person. She’s one of the best people I’ve ever interviewed.”

For Faw, he saw experience in the key factor as to why he felt Roe ought to be the interim commissioner. 

“She’s made her lifetime serving the community,” Faw said of Roe. “As far as interviews go, Brooke was excellent. And with some seasoning, a few years down the road, she’d be an excellent candidate for the position. Right now, I don’t believe she has the experience.”

Faw said he know, should Roe sit across from him at the commissioner table, he’ll have his disagreements with her. Which he said isn’t necessarily the worst thing.

“Do I think I won’t disagree with her? Yeah, I’m really concerned that I will,” Faw said. “Because, she’s really strong in points I’m weak in. And when I say that, she’s really [concerned] about mental health and taking care of the disadvantaged. I’m not cold-hearted, but that’s just never been my [platform].”

According to Montana law, the seat will continue to be open until the SGCRCC sends three more candidates to the commissioners for interviews. The SGCRCC interviewed candidates last week, but does not have a timetable of when they’ll have a list of name for the commissioners to do a second round of interviews.

Metcalf Bare, Wolf and Roe will not have to re-interview for the position. After the second round of three interviews is had, Faw and Wallace will either decide on one of the six candidates — including the previous three — or, without an agreement, will continue through 2018 without a third-sitting commissioner representing District 1.

On Jan. 11, 2018, those willing to be on the ballot to be voted in by the public as the commissioner for District 1 or District 3 (commissioner Faw's seat) may file to do so. They’ll have until March 12, 2018. If elected, their term would start Jan. 1, 2019.

Check back with the Pioneer on Dec. 15 online for developments on the next round of interviews and dates leading up to the next decision.

By STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Big Timber Pioneer

 

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