CHOTEAU, Mont. – Choteau is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the shortgrass prairies and the wild Rockies. This small town has a population of a little over 1,740. At the beginning of March Choteau Mayor and Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (Montana ESGR) volunteer Chris Hindoien welcomed Montana Mayors, Chief Executives, and City Managers to the 2022 Executive Forum.
The three-day gathering offered an opportunity for education and networking on a strategic level with new and tenured mayors, city managers, and administrative staff from across Montana. They discussed issues vital to communities; worked to develop ideas and resources to address the issues proactively; and learned from their peers.
The meeting was coordinated by the Montana League of Cities and Towns, the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority, and the Montana State University Local Government Center. The statewide educational and networking forums bring together stakeholders in local and state government to share ideas and discover resources.
Montana ESGR Volunteer Hindoien made time on the agenda to share information about ESGR with his peers. ESGR, a Department of Defense program, promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and assists in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.
“As a volunteer for Montana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve I can honestly say, ESGR makes a difference for employers here in Montana,” he commented.
“Why hire a guard or reserve member?” questioned Hindoien. “Its’ good business sense. These are disciplined and skilled workers displaying pride, leadership, responsibility, and professionalism in what they do. They understand the mission of their civilian jobs and make it a priority to get results, all while displaying a strong work ethic.”
He encouraged new Mayors or administrators who had questions about the Federal USERRA Law, Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act, to visit ESGR.mil for more information. They could also reach out to him for contacts at the Montana ESGR office in Great Falls Montana.
He noted that balancing work and military service brings many challenges. For 50 years, ESGR has helped both employers and Guard and Reserve employees meet those challenges. This year ESGR celebrates a milestone anniversary of supporting workplaces valuing employing National Guard and Reserve members. It is a unique challenge. It is a unique mission. He wished ESGR A happy 50th birthday and 50 years of continuing to serve both employers and service members.
Attendees took a local development tour of local businesses in the City of Choteau as Mayor Hindoien shared how the city has collaborated with local businesses to make their community better. Tours included stops at Alpine Touch Spice, Choteau Pavilion and Community Center, Roxy Theatre, and the Choteau Stage Stop Inn.
The Montana League of Cities and Towns is an incorporated, nonpartisan, nonprofit association of 127 Montana municipalities. The purpose of the League is cooperative improvement of municipal government in Montana. The organization acts as a clearinghouse through which the municipalities cooperate for their mutual benefit.
Photo: The Rocky Mountain Front Choteau, Montana photo courtesy of the visitchoteau website by the Choteau Area Port Authority, Choteau Chamber of Commerce, and Choteau TBID.