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An IR View: Despite city's missteps, Collins is the best candidate for Helena mayor

An IR View: Despite city's missteps, Collins is the best candidate for Helena mayor

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Wilmot Collins knows there were some rocky times during his first term as Helena’s mayor.

Early last year, the city bought out the contract of a city manager who turned out to be a bad fit.

An interim manager finalist with a sketchy work history in Livingston somehow made it through the vetting process before being abruptly removed from consideration.

The public along with two of the four city commissioners were largely left out of the process used to hire someone else for the interim position.

A culture of secrecy and hostility drove out many longtime city leaders and fostered a deep distrust of city government among many in the community.

But the city has come a long way in the last couple of years, and we know Collins played no small part in that positive trajectory.

Despite the city’s past missteps, we believe it is in Helena’s best interest to give the mayor another shot.

Today’s city government would have been unrecognizable just a couple of years ago.

We now have a competent city manager who has made it her mission to repair the city’s relationships with the community.

Instead of responding with hostility like they often did in the past, city leaders are now much more helpful when we and others in the community ask about what they are doing and why they are doing it.

The city is also making some progress on the mayor’s highest priorities, which include affordable housing, long-term infrastructure needs and continued investments in streets and sidewalks.

With two city commissioners stepping down in January, Collins will maintain stability within the governing body, and we trust that he and the new commission will be able to work as a more cohesive unit on behalf of Helena residents regardless of who else is elected this fall.

In a meeting with the Independent Record editorial board, Collins said he has learned a lot over the last few years and assured us that the “silly mistakes” made during his first term will not be repeated.

It appears that Collins may be nearing the top of what must be a pretty steep learning curve, and we’d be back to square one with a new mayor at the helm.

Take it from some of his toughest critics: Collins is the best candidate for the job.

Our only ask? Just be open and honest with the community and the media in your next term.

Mistakes are inevitable. When they happen, admit them, correct them, and move on.

It’s a new era for the city of Helena and Mayor Collins, and we wish him nothing but the best in his second term.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 



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