City Manager – Columbia Falls

City Manager

City of Columbia Falls

Columbia Falls, MT  59912

The City of Columbia Falls, Montana has reopened their search for City Manager candidates as its current City Manager is retiring after 13 years in the position, 25 years with the City.

The City of Columbia Falls is located in Flathead County and is home to approximately 5,500 residents. Columbia Falls is surrounded by recreational opportunities and is the gateway to Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest and is bordered on the east by the Flathead River. Columbia Falls was home to timber products-related industrial businesses but most recently has had an expansion in small businesses including restaurants, bakeries, retail shops, brewery, and services, particularly related to the tourism industry. The City is set to begin a new comprehensive planning process pursuant to 2023 state legislative requirements. This planning process will include Growth Policy, Transportation Planning, Housing Planning in addition to updating Water and Sewer Preliminary Engineering Reports.

The City was incorporated in 1909. Beginning in 1994 by citizen initiative, the City began operating under the Council-Manager form of government. The Council is made up of six members who are each elected for four-year staggered terms and an elected Mayor who is also elected for a four-year term. The City Manager oversees 37 full-time equivalent employees as well as a seasonal pool staff.

The City Manager is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the City. The City Manager duties and responsibilities are defined in state statute and the City Municipal Code, including but not limited to providing the City Council with policy advice, preparing, presenting, and administering the annual budget, implements policies adopted by City Council and serving as the chief executive and administrative officer of the City.

The City Manager oversees the Finance and Administration Department (Finance, City Clerk, Utility Billing), Public Works Department (Water, Sewer, Streets, Parks), Police Department, Fire Department, and City Court. The City’s Attorney and Planner are both contract positions. The City Manager serves as the Planning/Zoning Administrator.

The Columbia Falls 24FY budget is $20.1 million, including $8 million in capital spending. The General Fund budget is $4.28 million. The City voters approved a local 3% local resort tax in 2020 with collections beginning in October 2021. Due to the resort tax, the City Council was able to reduce the 24FY mill levy by 50%.


The City Council is seeking a talented and dynamic candidate for this hands-on City Manager position. The ideal candidate will have experience in the following:

  • An effective and experienced Manager from an environment of similar complexity with proven organizational and professional skills.
  • An individual who has strong skills in finance, capital planning, human resources, employee relations and unions, planning and community and economic development.
  • Able to listen, engage, understand, and sustain relationships with all stakeholders including local, state and federal agencies and private organizations.
  • Completes Grant Applications for funding to offset City budgetary expenses and performs grant administration duties.
  • Oversees the conduct of performance evaluations, training and hiring, discipline and termination procedures as well as directly supervises management, professional, paraprofessional and support staff.
  • Conducts administrative studies of City operations, procedures and department requests and prepares and presents the annual budget accordingly.
  • Exercises effective administration supervision of the City through department heads and coordinates the operation of all City departments; resolves interdepartmental problems or conflicts.
  • Willing to engage and become part of the fabric of the community. Residency in Columbia Falls may be waived by the City Council but is currently required.


The City Council is seeking candidates with a minimum of 5 years of demonstrated municipal upper-level leadership experience or similar related experience. Applicants will possess a bachelor’s degree in public administration, Business Administration, Political Science, or a substantially related field. A master’s degree in public or business administration is preferred. ICMA Credentialed Manager (CM) designation is a plus.

Visit the City website at City of Columbia Falls for community profile, budget, annual and audit reports and more detailed information.

Send cover letter, resume, salary history and references to City Clerk Barb Staaland, 130 6th Street West, Columbia Falls, MT 59912 or email: [email protected] by Monday, June 3, 2024.  Questions can be directed to City Manager Susan Nicosia at (406) 892-4384 or email: [email protected]

Send cover letter, resume, salary history and references to City Clerk Barb Staaland, 130 6th Street West, Columbia Falls, MT 59912 by Monday, June 3, 2024.

Derrek Shepherd
Author: Derrek Shepherd