On top of being subject to the U.S. Constitution and the Montana State Constitution, the city of Missoula is also subject to a document known as the city charter, yet very few Missoulians even know it exists.

Most cities in Montana don't have a charter, making Missoula's even more unique.

The city charter was conceived during a governmental review process in 1994, voted on by the people of Missoula in 1996 and became effective in 1997. Sure, it is relatively recent, but then again, the Montana State Constitution was only passed in 1972.

The charter includes many of the elements one would expect from a constitution, including a preamble and a description of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers within the city. There is even a path for amending the charter.

Some distinctive features of Missoula's charter include the rules for recalling elected officials, the establishment of neighborhood councils, and the requirement that officials run on a non-partisan basis. It's only 17 pages, including the title, read it for yourself.


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