Missoula County Commissioner Nicole ‘Cola’ Rowley informed county officials this week that she would be stepping down from the commission to take an administrative leadership position in Gallatin County.

“I have the opportunity to take a position with Gallatin County as their Deputy County Administrator,” said Rowley. “It’s an amazing opportunity for me to further my dedication to public service for years to come, and capitalize on my strengths and my interests in data, public administration and collaborative innovation.”

Rowley described the difference between the ways the two counties operate administratively.

“They’re structured differently than Missoula County,” she said. “We have a Chief Administrative Officer and then a Chief Operating Officer and three other officers that oversee all the other departments. In Gallatin County, they currently only have a county administrator overseeing all the departments, which you can imagine can be a heavy lift. The County Administrator created this position of Deputy County Administrator. Phase one is to help take on the managerial duties of all the departments and then grow it from there based on my strengths and see what kind of initiatives and projects would be appropriate for me to step in and help with.”

Rowley said she will start her new job on July 1.

The county issued a press release describing the process of replacing Rowley on the commission.

With Rowley leaving before her term expires, an appointee will fill her seat upon her departure. Pursuant to Montana Code Annotated 7-4-2106(2), the Missoula County Democratic Central Committee will provide a list of three names to Strohmaier and Slotnick. The commissioners will decide on a process and timeline for selecting the candidate, and Missoula County will issue a media release when that is finalized.

The newly selected commissioner will carry out the remaining year and half of Rowley’s term and have the opportunity to run for the open seat in the November 2020 election. The winner of the election will then serve the standard six-year staggered term beginning Jan. 1, 2021.’