Now that Missoula County Commissioner Nicole ‘Cola’ Rowley has officially announced that she will vacate her seat on the commission to take a new position in Gallatin County, the wheels have been set in motion to choose a replacement.

Missoula County Chief Administrator Vicki Zeier explained the procedure to replace Rowley on the commission.

“The commissioners have notified the Democrat Central Committee that by statute it has to be with the party from which she was elected and she is a democrat,” said. Zeier. “The party must submit three names to the commissioners, and the commissioners have requested that those names be submitted by May 31st. Those three people will be interviewed by the commissioners on June 11th and then the commissioners will meet on June 13th to cast their vote on who they would like to be the next commissioner.”

Zeier said she hopes the newly chosen commissioner can begin work on July 1, the day that Rowley is resigning her office.

“They will hold the position through December 2020 and in 2020, if they wanted to continue as the commissioner on this district they would need to file with the elections office before March 2020 and run for election. If they won the primary they would participate in the general election in November.”

Zeier said there are residency restrictions for those interested in the seat.

“The candidate must live in commissioner district 1,” she said. “You can go on the elections website and look at election maps. You must have resided in that district for at least two years.”

Those interested must contact the Democratic Central Committee and be a registered voter at least 18 years of age in Missoula County.

There will be an informational meeting with Commissioners Slotnik and Strohmeier on May 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sophie Moeise Meeting Room in the county courthouse.