Mayor John Engen announced today that Dale Bickell will join the city of Missoula's team leadership as the Director of Central Services.
Bickell has worked for Missoula County for 14 years and has served as the chief administrative officer.
Bickell will now oversee the city's finance department, human resources, city clerk's office, information technologies, facility and vehicle maintenance and geographical information system services.
"He's got a great financial style, he has great leadership skills, he understands local government," said Engen.
"This opportunity just gave me the chance to try new challenges and continuing to serve the community is really important to me. The public service aspect of my time at the county and new challenges at the city are really something that I want to continue to work on," said Bickell.
The mayor believes that Bickell's presence will benefit both local governments.
Bickell will start on May 5.
The following is a press release sent out by the City of Missoula:
Mayor John Engen has announced that Dale Bickell will join the City of Missoula’s leadership team as Central Services Director on May 5.
Bickell brings significant experience and expertise in local government and financial management to the City. He has worked the last 14 years at Missoula County, serving as Chief Administrative Officer since 2008.
“We’re very pleased to have Dale’s talent, enthusiasm for our community and experience at the City of Missoula,” Engen said. “I’ve come to appreciate Dale very much as we’ve worked with the County on a variety of issues over the years, and I know that he’ll bring energy and a penchant for problem-solving to our organization. He is also a very nice man.”
The City’s Central Services Director oversees the Finance Department, Human Resources, City Clerk’s Office, Information Technologies, Facility and Vehicle Maintenance and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Services. The emphasis is on serving citizens and City departments effectively.
Bickell is a University of Montana graduate with an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in accounting.
“I’ve been at the County for 14 years,” Bickell said. “I have enjoyed my time there, and I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished. But I always like a new challenge, and the projects the City can work on interest me.”
Bickell served as Chief Financial Officer for Missoula County from 2000 to 2008. He worked for a local accounting firm for five years while he was also a partner in the then-startup Big Dipper IceCream. He serves on several boards, including United Way of Missoula County. He is a Missoula native who grew up in Helena. His wife, Lisa Bickell, is education director at the Montana Natural History Center. They and their two young children live in the heart of Missoula in Dale’s grandmother’s house, which has been in the family since the 1950s.
“The public service aspect of working in local government and doing good things for my community are really important to me,” he said. “This is an opportunity to continue that.”
Bickell’s recruitment is part of a larger transition plan as Mayor Engen and City Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Bender prepare for Bender’s eventual retirement over the course of the next few years.
Mayor Engen expects Bickell’s presence on the City management team to benefit both local governments.
“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the County,” he said, “and we expect that Dale’s work here will only serve to strengthen that relationship.”