Richland County Commissioner Shane Gorder was recently appointed president of the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) after serving as second vice president and then vice president. He was sworn in Monday, Sept. 23, for his one-year term.

“I had a lot of support from other counties and county commissioners that thought I would do a great job,” Gorder said. “I am going to continue the what the past presidents have done. Be open minded, listen to the concerns, whether it’s from eastern Montana, western Montana or central Montana. I’m going to be the voice to carry those concerns.”

Gorder’s duties will include working closely with MACo and the staff, looking into legislation and bills, modifying bills and working with various boards like worker’s compensation. The commissioner said his transition from vice president into president has helped him to be well-prepared for the new role. Gorder’s elected-official career began in 2011 when he was elected as a county commissioner. He is currently in his second six-year term.

“It started with a lot of open discussion with friends of mine in the county,” Gorder said. “I was working at the county in the road department. I was a blade operator for just about seven years, so I was constantly following the role of the leadership.”

Gorder follows in the footsteps of past Richland County Commissioner Bob Mullen who also served as MACo president in the 1980s. Mullen is now a commissioner in Jefferson County, but Gorder said he still keeps an eye on Richland.

“He keeps close ties on what’s going on in Sidney,” Gorder said.

Richland County has a rich history of leadership, Gorder said, with examples like Sandy Christensen, who served as president of the Montana County Treasurer’s Association, and Stephanie Verhasselt, who served as the president of the Montana Association of Clerk and Recorders and Election Administrators.

“I believe we’re working hard as elected officials in Richland County,” Gorder said. “We’re stepping up and taking roles of leadership at state positions. I’m proud to say we’ve got good leadership in Richland County and we’re also doing our best to help the state of Montana.”

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