Johnston

JOHNSTON

Three Forks Public Works employee Randy Johnston will be the city’s new mayor beginning in January, after the city council voted Tuesday to remove the mayoral race from the ballot and appoint Johnston by acclamation.

Johnston was the only candidate who filed for the mayoral seat currently held by Sean Gifford, who did not seek re-election.

City Treasurer Kelly Smith said Johnston is planning to retire from the Public Works Department in December before he begins his term.

The council also voted Tuesday to cancel one city council race, again because only one candidate filed for the position. Current council member Nancy Todd, who was appointed last spring to her seat after Erin Schattauer’s resignation, was the only candidate to file to finish the unexpired term. The council opted to cancel the November race and appoint Todd by acclamation.

Three other city council seats are up for election in November, and they will be filled by the three candidates who receive the most votes from among four candidates: Gene Townsend, George Chancellor, Alex Blackburn, and Brooke A. McLees.

By law, the council could have opted to keep the uncontested races on the November ballot. Last week in Belgrade, the City Council chose not to pass a resolution that would have removed two uncontested council races from the ballot.

“It would still be possible for there to be a write-in campaign in a fairly short period of time to make a difference, but this is strictly the council’s choice,” said Belgrade City Manager Ted Barkley when he presented the option to the council.

Gallatin County’s deadline to file as an official write-in candidate expired at the end of August, but that doesn’t eliminate other write-in options.