Sheela Amin has never been to a Columbia City Council meeting, but soon the meetings will be an integral part of her job.
Amin, Columbia’s new city clerk, began her training Monday. After eight years of working for the State Emergency Management Agency, she is looking forward to the change.
“I got the paper, and I was just looking at the want ads when I saw that this position was open and decided to apply for it,” Amin said.
She was selected from a pool of 85 applicants.
As city clerk, Amin will keep the official records of the city council, deal with the public and respond to requests for information, arrange and attend council meetings, and read bills, record votes and process legislation after council meetings.
City Manager Ray Beck said the responsibilities of Columbia’s clerk are broader than those in many cities, and the duties are always expanding. “The clerk has a lot more bills to take care of than smaller communities like Hallsville,” Beck said. “I think she’ll do a good job.”
The city clerk updates the database that contains the code of ordinances posts the council meeting agendas and circulates, certifies, and prepares documents and minutes after meetings. She also handles elections matters, including petitions for those who want to be candidates for the city council. The clerk acts as the secretary to the Board of Adjustment as well, which handles requests for variances from city regulations.
Despite the challenge, Amin is not nervous.
“It’s nice having the previous city clerk here helping me get started,” she said. “I think I’ll enjoy the job, and if I do and everyone’s satisfied with my work, I would love to remain here for a long time.”
Amin is replacing Penny St. Romaine, who was city clerk for almost seven years and is moving to a position in the Law Department.
St. Romaine said she has confidence in Amin taking over the position and added, “She seems like a very capable person.”
Amin is excited to pick up where St. Romaine left off. Although she has never been a city clerk before, her experience with the emergency management agency has allowed her to work with city clerks throughout the state.
Amin worked for the state government for eight years, starting directly after college. She served as the state hazard mitigation officer for part of that time.
“Because of my involvement in state government, being in another government position was something that was enticing to me,” she said.
Although both of her parents are from India, Amin was born in Minnesota. Her father moved to the United States while in college, and her mother moved later. She enjoyed growing up as an international family.
“It was always interesting at family functions,” she said.
Her family has lived in several places, including Arkansas, West Virginia and Tennessee, before moving to St. Louis when she was in high school. She moved to Columbia to study accounting at MU in 1991 and has lived here ever since.
“I really like Columbia. It’s a nice size, has decent shopping and there’s always something going on,” she said. “I think I’ll enjoy working for the community I live in.”