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Bozeman mayor talks next steps after citizens vote in favor of government review

“I think we are growing as a town and it’s natural to ask, is our local government serving us in the best way possible,” said Bozeman Mayor Terry Cunningham.
Posted at 6:55 PM, Jun 05, 2024

BOZEMAN — On Tuesday, June 4, voters made their way to the polls for the 2024 primary election. Initial counts showed voters in favor of a local government review in the city of Bozeman.

“I was not at all surprised,” said Bozeman Mayor Terry Cunningham.

The most recent preliminary results showed two-thirds of voters want to do a government review in Bozeman.

I spoke with Mayor Cunningham outside City Hall and he told me that not only was he not surprised to see the ballot item pass, but he also sees it as a positive thing.

Top of mind for some voters may have been the recent shakeups and controversies within the city government.

Back in January, former city manager Jeff Mihelich was seen in a leaked video disparaging his colleagues and ranting about the community.

Watch previous coverage: Bozeman city manager vents about colleagues in leaked video

Leaked video of Bozeman's city manager prompts special city commission meeting

“I don’t think it was an angry vote,” said Cunningham. “I think we are growing as a town and it’s natural to ask, is our local government serving us in the best way possible.”

A review can lead to small changes, like setting new terms for elected officials or designating ward-by-ward versus at-large representation.

“How large should our commission be, should it be five or seven, should we have a full-time mayor or part-time mayor, all of those are good things to ask,” said Cunningham.

The next step?

“We’ll be asking citizens to step up and volunteer,” Cunningham said.

These citizens will comprise the local government review panel. The community will vote on those candidates in the November election.

“I think anytime you put it in the hands of citizens who are serious about the work and are committed to it, only good things can happen,” said Cunningham.