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Helena, Montana

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City Manager – Helena, Montana


The Position

Helena’s next city manager will have the opportunity to live and work in one of Montana’s premiere communities. Nestled near the gorgeous foothills of the Montana Rockies and surrounded by an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and pristine wilderness, Helena provides residents with an outstanding quality of life. Helena’s next city manager will work collaboratively with a committed City Commission and a team of dedicated municipal employees.

Appointed by the Mayor and City Commission, the city manager serves as the chief administrative officer, who implements commission policies, provides organizational leadership for department directors and employees, and oversees the day-to-day business of government operations. City operations include the departments of Human Resources, Administrative Services, Community Facilities, Police, Fire, Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, City/County Information Technology and Services, and the City Attorney’s Office.

The City Manager has 12 direct reports including the City Attorney, Fire Chief, Police Chief, Public Works Director, Administrative Services Director, Community Development Director, Human Resources Director, Parks and Recreation Director, Community Facilities Superintendent, Civic Center General Manager, Parking Manager, and the Public Information and Special Projects Coordinator.

Form of Government

The City of Helena adopted a Charter form of government in 1976 and operates under a Commission-Manager form of government. Residents elect five members to the City Commission, including the Mayor. City Commissioners and the Mayor are elected for four (4) year terms, with two positions filled at each general election. The Commission functions in a policy-making role and appoints the city manager, who is responsible for the oversight of the City’s daily operations and implementation of Commission policy.

The Organization

The City’s structure and operations have been designed to ensure an open and responsive government that integrates a highly dedicated staff, thoughtful elected officials, an involved citizenry, diverse businesses, and regional cooperation to provide high-quality and cost-effective services.

Helena provides a wide range of services to residents and businesses including water and sewer; police protection; planning, zoning, and building safety; street and road maintenance; transit – city bus services; and parks and recreation, including a golf course, waterpark, and pool.

The City of Helena works cooperatively with Lewis and Clark County. The organizations have several shared services and operate under interlocal agreements. The City and County have joint IT, records, and dispatch departments/divisions. Currently, the City operates the landfill that is owned by the County. In addition, several facilities are owned by one organization and shared by the other. The City and County Commission meet monthly with the City Manager and County Administrator helping to develop the agenda.

The City employs 309 full-time employees and has an FY2018 budget of $78.9 Million. In June, the community passed the Helena Fire Levy, which provides the City Fire Department with a significant budget increase. The levy will help fund fire personnel and should provide an additional $900,000 for the department annually.

Experience & Education

The requirements for the position include a bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science, business management, finance or a closely related field and five (5) years of experience as a municipal administrator/manager.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in public administration or related field, ICMA-Credentialed Manager designation, strong financial management and budgeting skills, and a track record of success in economic development, business and civic engagement, working with an elected body, and handling policy changes.

Residency within the City’s corporate limits is required and would be expected within six months of starting employment.

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Helena is looking for an experienced, hard-working local government professional who has a collaborative management style, engages with staff and the community, brings fresh and innovative ideas, and provides informed recommendations to the City Commission.

The City Manager will be invested in the City of Helena and its continued success. He or she will work effectively with the City Commission and will have a proven track record in successfully implementing and carrying out Commission priorities and policies.

The successful candidate will demonstrate organizational leadership and direction, build trust, and will be experienced and/or skilled in implementing organizational and cultural change. He or she will be knowledgeable in implementing performance measures and department workplans, modeling consistent and fair behavior, and holding staff accountable. The City Manager will have experience working with labor unions and in collective bargaining.

The ideal candidate will have a background in municipal financial management and fiscal policies, human resources, public works, public safety, and community development.

The City of Helena is seeking a city manager with these traits:

  • Decisive
  • Strategic
  • Politically astute
  • Flexible
  • Creative
  • Personable
  • Accessible
  • Articulate
  • Fiscally responsible

The Community

The City of Helena is located in Lewis and Clark County, situated less than three hours from Yellowstone National Park and just over three hours from Glacier National Park and the Canada-United States border. This charming and beautiful Victorian city is both the capital of the state of Montana and the county seat for Lewis and Clark County. Helena thrives as an educational, commercial, recreational, cultural, and political center for the entire state of Montana while celebrating a real appreciation for the community’s colorful, storied past.

In July of 1864, four gold miners founded a mining camp along a gulch off the Prickly Pear Creek in rural Montana. The region, named Last Chance Gulch, grew almost overnight. By the fall of 1864, the population had grown to over 200 and the City of Helena was officially established. Taking inflation into account, Helena produced an estimated $3.6 billion in gold over the next twenty years. The City’s early concentration of wealth contributed to the construction of elaborate Victorian architecture, much of which remains today.

Nicknamed the “Queen City of the Rockies,” Helena has managed to conserve its scenic attractions and establish a thriving entertainment district in the City’s downtown area. The City of Helena currently owns and manages over 1,738 acres of open and undeveloped parkland, including Mount Ascension Park and Mount Helena City Park. Mount Helena City Park, which encompasses all of Mount Helena, is a popular tourist attraction and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Mount Helena overlooks the city from 5,468 feet above sea level and is positioned near Helena National Forest. Located only ten miles from the Continental Divide and the Missouri River, Helena has exciting opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

The City of Helena operates twelve elementary schools, two middle schools, and two public high schools. In addition, both Carroll College and Helena College are located within city limits. Carroll College is a private liberal arts institution nationally recognized for its academic performance and enrolls over 1,400 students. Helena College, associated with the University of Montana, is a public two-year institution that enrolls approximately 1,500 students.

Designated a ride center by the International Mountain Biking Association, Helena has over 75 miles of trails that originate in the downtown area, offering visitors a world-class mountain biking or hiking experience. The natural environment of Helena affords residents and tourists the opportunities to rock climb, cross country ski, hike, fish, disc golf, and even prospect for gold. For the past several years, Helena has been included on numerous lists of the best geocaching destinations in the world.

Helena is a unique blend of past and present. People from all walks of life can find an environment to suit their lifestyle. The city is alive with community spirit, street festivals, theaters, museums, symphonies, fairs, and rodeos. A highlight of Helena’s historic downtown area is the Pedestrian Walking Mall, a park-like setting that is home to a diverse array of specialty shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses that offer a unique atmosphere and shopping experience.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 31,000
  • Median Household Income: $52,288
  • Median Home Value: $209,500
  • Median Age: 41.6
  • Total Area: 16.39 square miles


The salary range for this position is $125,000 – $150,000 depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that includes a cover letter and resume with salary history. Open until filled with first review of applications October 8, 2018.

All applications are subject to Montana Public Records Law but will not be released without notice to candidates.


Please direct questions to Jenn Reichelt at 513-221-0500 or

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