Libby Appoints New Councilor to Replace Outgoing Member

Gary Neff was appointed to the Libby City Council by a 3 to 2 vote on Aug. 31

By Justin Franz

Gary Neff was appointed to the Libby City Council by a 3 to 2 vote on Aug. 31. Neff has been tasked with serving out the rest of former councilor Bill Bischoff’s term, who announced earlier this year he was retiring from the council and his job with Lincoln County.

Neff was one of three candidates who applied to serve out the rest of Bischoff’s term, which will run until January. The other candidates were Kristin Smith and Lee Bothman.

However, as with most political matters in Libby in recent years, the appointment didn’t happen easily. During the Aug. 31 meeting to appoint a new member, Mayor Doug Roll tried to veto the vote for Neff. The rest of the council voted to override the veto. In an interview with the Beacon, Roll defended his veto saying, “I have nothing against Gary, I just don’t know him that well.”

Roll and the rest of the city council have been entrenched in various political skirmishes over the years and most recently, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices accused the mayor and others of violating election laws. In 2013, the city tried to sue Allen Olsen, a council member running against Roll for mayor, accusing him of not living in Libby. The lawsuit failed and Commissioner Jonathan Motl said the city abused its powers by pushing the case. Some have suggested that Roll should be recalled. The mayor also recently announced he was running for city council to be a “spoiler” in hopes of derailing the chances of Olsen, DC Orr and Arlen Magill getting on council.

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