MISSOULA — The two most tenured members of the Missoula City Council were appointed unanimously to serve as president and vice president on Monday, launching a new chapter in the daily function of the city’s decision-making body.
As president, council member Gwen Jones also assigned all 12 council members to all City Council committees. That too marked a change from years past, when some committees were sparsely attended and just able to meet the required quorum.
Jones received wide praise from the council’s incumbents, who have worked with her over the past four years as she served as the council’s vice president. Jones represents Ward 3, which includes the University District and the Slant Street neighborhood.
Councilmember Jordan Hess, who made the nomination, said Jones has served with distinction through challenging times.
“I’ve always found Gwen to be deliberative, thoughtful, smart and she’s incredibly dedicated to her work,” Hess said. “She runs all that out by being kind, compassionate and really thoughtful. All those qualities make a good City Council member and they’re qualities that make a good leader.”
Councilmember Amber Sherrill agreed and backed Jones’s nomination.
“Gwen has been a proven leader on the council. She’s one of the most detailed people I’ve met in my life. She’s balanced, very thoughtful and willing to spend the time it takes to research issues.”
Just as Jones received a unanimous vote, so too did Hess in his nomination as the City Council’s new vice president. Hess begins his third term representing Ward 2 and brings his own experience back for another four years.
“Seeing Jordan chair the Land Use and Planning Committee – it’s a difficult committee to chair,” said council member Sandra Vasecka, who made the nomination. “He does it so fantastically. He and Gwen will make good team leading the City Council.”
Jones also supported Hess’s nomination as vice president, calling him a hard worker, diplomatic and thoughtful. As president and vice president, Jones and Hess will work to create a collaborative culture as the City Council tackles this year’s crop of issues.
“We have a big focus on creating a collaborative culture on council that will accommodate all sorts of different opinions. You’re never going to have 12 people agree on everything,” Jones said. “How we work on different issues, gather good ideas and modify things accordingly is how you have a good functioning council, and Jordan contributes to that type of dynamic.”