Missoula City Council Committee Approves Appointment of Director of Operations | Local news


Missoula will soon have a new director of operations, as Eric Hallstrom was unanimously approved for the position on Wednesday by the city council’s administration and finance committee.

The nomination has been added to the agenda for the city council plenary meeting on Monday, December 13, when it will become official. Hallstrom is expected to start work on Wednesday, December 15.

Hallstrom, 46, will oversee the city’s business tools and information, as well as non-financial data reporting. He will be responsible for implementing the city’s strategic plans and developing tools to measure their effectiveness.

Data-driven decision making has been a focal point of the job description, as has communication with the general public and monitoring how public money is spent.

“I think there are now tools available that are sort of scaled up that city governments can use to drive decision-making – a framework with good data or with systems that can actually support. good data, ”Hallstrom told the Missoulian on Wednesday. “Part of the problem is that it’s hard to collect the right information to make decisions and so (we want to) make sure we think about how you design a program, so that you can assess its effectiveness.

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“Instead of maybe a semi-annual report, you have a more real-time dashboard,” he added. “And you can make a lot of dynamic decisions if you know whether or not you are achieving your goals instead of just getting a report after the fact.”

Hallstrom’s experience has been varied throughout his career. A high school and college debater, he enjoyed the practice of debating public policies on their merits, as well as the political choices and the creative side of the argument that ultimately led him to public service.

This led him to attend law school, he said. He first received an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Augustana College, a liberal arts school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

He received a law degree from the University of Iowa. He worked as a staff member on political campaigns during the summers and interned for a federal judge in Minnesota after graduating from law school.

Hallstrom then found his way to Georgetown Law School, where he spent time teaching legislative advocacy. He worked for former US Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a South Dakota lawmaker.

He then accepted a position at a Washington, DC law firm that represented public sector employees, primarily on pay, hours, work and employment, he said.

From there, he served as chief of staff for the United States Federal Election Commission and spent time in the United States Department of Labor. Since then, he has held a sort of agency position.

He recently worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, as well as the state budget office.

“I wanted to do more of the things governments do and a little less coordination and management of the things governments do,” Hallstrom said. “Then I continued this trend with the state, then a local movement.

“It’s been a slow walk west of DC”

Hallstrom is moving to Missoula with his wife, Jessica, as well as a number of dogs, he said.

Council members, along with Mayor John Engen, praised the potential candidate.

“I think his approach to being a servant leader (is to be) someone who is very committed to public service as well as supporting his team,” Engen said. “The internal departments that Eric will lead are critical to the day-to-day operations of the Town of Missoula in our ability to serve the people we have sworn to. He is very well equipped to do this job.”

The position will pay approximately $ 148,000 per year. A request to add this role was approved by city council during the 2022 budget process.

Jordan Hansen covers news and local government for the Missoulian. Shout it out on Twitter @jordyhansen or email him at [email protected]

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