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− Trent Gernant

“I feel like I had a pretty good head start. I went from doing those steps to being the person making sure other people did those steps.”
OLIVIA VANNI, Missoulian

After returning to Missoula following a long hiatus, Tyler Gernant now runs some of the most vitals roles of county government.

As the elected clerk and recorder/treasurer, Gernant runs the real estate recording office, motor vehicles and tax departments, among other duties.

In 2014, when county clerk and recorder Vickie Zeier, who had been in the job for more than two decade, pulled out of the election to work as the county’s chief administrative officer, Gernant was named as the replacement to appear on the ballot. With no Republican running, he won the election and took over from an appointed interim candidate that November.

Gernant said that although he heard about the position’s steep learning curve coming in, he feels that his background as an attorney, where he focused on many of the same areas he now runs from the county side, made the transition easier.

“I feel like I had a pretty good head start. I went from doing those steps to being the person making sure other people did those steps,” he said.

For his position with the county, Gernant said it was more a perspective change from working for his clients to looking out for taxpayers.

“You want to be able to get the taxes so that government has the means to be able to function, but be fair to taxpayers and make sure people don’t lose their homes,” he said.

Although he was born in town as a third-generation Montanan, Gernant and his family moved to Idaho when he was very young. His father Gary was a teacher at Hellgate High School and during budget cuts in the 1980’s, he went through a period of continual back and forth on his contract.

“Around the third year of that he found another job and we moved to Idaho Falls,” Gernant said. “Even though I moved when I was four, I always identified as a Montanan.”

The family continued to visit Missoula, but Gernant wouldn’t end up moving back until he attended law school at the University of Montana. By that time, he had already started working in another of his passions, politics. In the years leading up to law school, Gernant worked for former Montana Senator Max Baucus, U.S. Representative Brian Baird of Washington, and on the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards.

“I really love doing political stuff, I still help out here and there,” Gernant said.

Outside of his work, Gernant said he likes spending his time with his wife Katie Carlson and their 1-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

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