City Council 

Houseman's job up for grabs

When Roy Houseman announced his resignation from the Missoula City Council last week, he had already put a significant amount of thought into who he'd like to see named as his replacement.

"It would be nice to have another young person as a representative in Ward 2," the outgoing councilman told the Independent this week.

Houseman's term was slated to expire in 2014. But earlier this month he accepted a position with the United Steelworkers Union as a legislative assistant. Time concerns—Houseman will frequently travel to Washington, D.C.—prompted him to step down.

City Council is legally mandated to approve Houseman's replacement by a majority vote within 30 days of his resignation. The new representative must have lived in Ward 2 for a minimum of 60 days and be at least 18 years old. Whoever is selected will serve until the November 2011 General Election. The job pays $12,767 annually with city benefits.

Houseman is endorsing a handful of progressives. His list includes Cynthia Wolken, who ran for City Council in Ward 2 in 2009 before dropping out to care for an ill family member, and Gabriel Furshong, a community organizer for the Montana Wilderness Association. Both Furshong and Wolken confirmed this week that they are interested in pursuing Houseman's seat.

Houseman also recommended LaNette Diaz, who has served in various municipal and nonprofit arenas. Diaz was vacationing as of press time and could not be contacted for comment. Houseman's fourth pick, Paul Hubbard, says he has his hands full working with the Missoula County Community Food and Agriculture Coalition and won't apply for the job.

It remains to be seen if anyone on Houseman's list will pass council muster. However, Council President Ed Childers says the recommendations will influence his vote.

"Roy's suggestions will certainly be a part of my decision-making process, and I'm sure others will consider them as well," he says.

Interested candidates should submit an application to the Missoula City Clerk by Jan. 5 at 5 p.m.

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