City Manager

City of Helena, MT | Full-time


The Position

Helena’s next City Manager will have the opportunity to live and work in one of Montana’s premier 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 and is responsible for implementing Commission policies, providing organizational leadership, and overseeing the day-to-day business of government operations.

The City Manager has 14 direct reports including the City Attorney; Fire Chief; Police Chief; Public Works Director; Transportation Systems Director; Finance Director; Community Development Director; Human Resources Director; Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director; Community Facilities Superintendent;  Public Information Officer; Assistant to the City Manager; Administrative Assistant; and Sustainability 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 are 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.

City operations include the departments of Human Resources; Finance; Community Facilities; Police; Fire; Community Development; Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Public Works; Transportation Systems; City/County Information Technology and Services; and the City Attorney’s Office.

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 Commissions meet monthly, with the City Manager and County Administrator helping to develop the agenda.

The City employs 356 full and part-time employees and has an FY2020 total combined budget of $89.6 million.

Experience & Education

Minimum requirements for this position are a bachelor’s degree and seven years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government or an organization of similar complexity and at least five years in an executive-level leadership role.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in public administration or a related field, ICMA-Credentialed Manager, and previous city manager experience. Other preferred qualifications include a background in municipal budget/financial management, human resources, economic development, community engagement, and intergovernmental relations.

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

The Ideal Candidate

Helena is seeking an innovative, dynamic, and transformational change leader to serve as their next City Manager. This person is a seasoned local government professional who has demonstrated success in leading an organization, especially in the areas of human resources, government finance, and economic development.

The City Manager demonstrates sound judgment and exceptional decision-making skills. This person is strategic and analytical and uses data to inform recommendations and decisions. This individual is trustworthy and demonstrates exceptional character, high ethical standards, and integrity. The successful candidate can effectively manage the expectations of the Commission, community, and staff and can push back when appropriate. In addition, the next City Manager demonstrates resiliency and remains calm in high-pressure situations.

The ideal candidate will have worked effectively in a council-manager form of government and has had success in implementing and carrying out governing bodies’ priorities and policies. The City Manager is a skilled facilitator and mediator and can help groups successfully reach consensus. This person is politically astute and can navigate Helena’s political environment while demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence.

The successful candidate has strong organizational leadership skills, leads a team of accomplished professionals, and is fully invested in their continued development and success. The ideal candidate will lead without bias, engage with staff throughout the organization, and provide support, direction, and feedback. The successful candidate is consistent and fair and holds staff accountable.

The ideal candidate is committed to improving the quality of life in Helena and believes in providing outstanding customer service. The City Manager is a transparent and accessible leader who instills trust throughout the community, region, and organization. This individual excels at building relationships and demonstrates a collaborative management style. The successful candidate is an articulate leader with exceptional communication skills who recognizes the value of being a good listener. This person will take the time to listen, learn, and understand the organization, the Helena community, and its rich history and culture while helping to move the community forward.


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 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 the 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.

Community data:

  • Population: 32,315

  • Median Household Income: $56,221

  • Median Home Value: $232,000

  • Median Age: 40.3

  • Total Area: 16.39 square miles


The salary range for this position is $125,000 - $165,000 depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume with salary history. Open until filled with the first review of applications on June 22, 2020.

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


All meetings of the Helena City Commission are open to the public. The online application allows applicants to assert their right to individual privacy in their application materials. Meetings to discuss application materials may be closed if the Mayor determines that the demands of individual privacy clearly exceed the merits of public disclosure.


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


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