City Council votes unanimously for Chris Kukulski as next city administrator

Chris Kukulski has been the executive vice president for business development for Zoot Enterprises since 2017. Prior to that, he served as city manager for Bozeman from 2004 to June of 2017, and before that, as the city manager of Kalispell from 1999 to 2004.

A city council member asked him how others would describe his management and decision-making style.

"I'm a collaborative person," Kukulski said. "I like to work with people and I like to get their professional advice. With that information, make a decision."


Billings' longest serving city administrator Tina Volek, retired at the end of September in 2017. Shortly after, the city began a search for the next city administrator. Greg Doyon, Great Falls city administrator, was chosen from a pool of four finalists for the position. He declined the position in December after stating he was disappointed with what the city was offering.

That is what leads us to what's happening now. The city has selected four new finalists and Tuesday, those finalists are in the Magic City for additional interviews.

Billings city council has had a long day to say the least, with four finalists vying to become the next city administrator, each city council member has been paying close attention to their answers during the interview.

Dan Chandler is from Oregon where he was assistant county administrator in Clackamas County for 8 years. Three years prior to that, he served as senior assistant county counsel. The Billings city council asked Chandler, if he could give them an example of a time when the city adopted a policy or a collectively expressed stance, in which he disagreed.

"One, we're talking about professional disagreement," Chandler said. "We're talking about me thinking that something might be, I guess, ill-advised or a bad idea. Not saying it's unethical or illegal. I think that's a whole different situation. I'd express that disagreement privately."

Philip Sanders served as city manager in Anna, Texas for 10 years. He was also the director of community development for the city of Greenville, Texas.

When asked if a council member approached him with a request with a position he knew would be contrary to the majority, how would he handle the situation?

"When it comes to policy matters, the majority rules and when the majority speaks on a policy issue, that's the direction I walk," Sanders said.

Chris Kukulski has been the executive vice president for business development for Zoot Enterprises since 2017. Prior to that, he served as city manager for Bozeman from 2004 to June of 2017, and before that, as the city manager of Kalispell from 1999 to 2004.

A city council member asked him how others would describe his management and decision making style.

"I'm a collaborative person," Kukulski said. "I like to work with people and I like to get their professional advice. With that information, make a decision."

And finally, Jeff Jones. He's been the deputy city manager and assistant city manager in Mesquite, Texas since April 2016. He was also the assistant city manager in Hurst, Texas from 2002 to 2016.

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