MISSOULA – Missoula County Commissioner Nicole “Cola” Rowley has announced that she will be stepping down to accept a position in Bozeman.
Rowley will assume her new position as deputy county administrator with Gallatin County on July 1.
“This is an amazing opportunity to further my dedication to public service for years to come,” Rowley said in a statement.
“It will allow me to capitalize on my strengths and interest in data, administration and collaborative innovation. I’m excited for a new challenge and the accompanying personal and professional growth.”
Rowley is the current chair of the Missoula County Commission.
“In a few short years, Cola has left an indelible impression on Missoula County government,” said Commissioner Dave Strohmaier. “Among other things, her data-driven approach to criminal justice reform has put Missoula County on the map and will position us well for realizing jail diversion efforts and fostering healthy communities.”
“She’s smart, motivated and passionate — all attributes that will serve Gallatin County well. I look forward to collaborating across county lines, and I wish Cola the very best in her new role,” he added.
Rowley currently serves on several boards and authorities, including the Partnership Health Center, Western Montana Mental Health Center and Missoula Aging Services boards and the Housing Policy Steering Committee.
“Cola’s encyclopedic understanding of local government, focus on data-driven solutions and commitment to an equitable future have made her an effective elected official,” Commissioner Josh Slotnick said.
“I have appreciated Cola’s openness and willingness to pass on her knowledge, as she has been a great help to me as well as the county. Our loss is indeed Gallatin County’s gain,” he added in a news release.
Since Rowley is leaving before her term expires, an appointee will fill her seat upon her departure.
The Missoula County Democratic Central Committee will provide a list of three names to Strohmaier and Slotnick and the commissioners will decide on a process and timeline for selecting the candidate.
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.
“It’s been an honor to serve Missoula County and to work with such amazing people every day, within the organization and in the community,” Rowley said.