Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - For the first time in the memory of those who have followed the history of the Missoula City Council, there has been a tie for Ward 6 between incumbent Sandra Vasecka and challenger Sean Patrick McCoy, after a closely watched recount last Monday.

KGVO News spoke with Interim City of Missoula Attorney Keithi Worthington for the official details of how the process will be carried out at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The City Council has Never Faced a Tie Vote Before

“It's an unusual occurrence that we've never frankly run across as far as I'm aware and Dr. Marty Rehbein as the clerk, and she'd never run across this, but there's guidance in statute,” said Worthington. “I think (Missoula City Communications Director) Ginny Merriam might have issued a press release on this as well. But title 1316-507 says that we're limited to a point in one of the two candidates who have who have tied and we feel that that office is in the same situation we would as any other vacancy.”

Worthington had another statute germane to the issue.

There are Municipal Regulations that Describe How to Handle the Tie Vote

“We're then guided by other statutes such as 74-4111 and 4112, that talk about how to fill a vacancy until the next general election which will occur in two years and then there will be an election. So at this point, it's going to go to the city council for filling that vacancy, and that appointment will last for two years until the next general election.”

The person chosen would then have to run for reelection yet again.

Whoever is Chosen by the Council will Have to Run Again in Two Years

“The city's charter states almost identical language basically says that if that position is vacant, the city council can appoint until the next general election so whoever gets appointed eventually by city council would have to run again for two years, even though it is a four-year term by the statute and the charter, they are appointed by city council until the next general election,” she said.

Members of the Missoula City Council will take up the appointment of a Ward 6 City Council representative in New Business at their meeting on Monday evening.

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