Duluth City Clerk Chelsea Helmer's job may soon be getting larger.
On Monday, the Duluth City Council will be asked to pass a resolution confirming Helmer's appointment to a new post: director of administrative services. In her new role, Helmer would oversee not only the city clerk's office but also the city's information technology and human resources departments.
In regard to the three divisions she would be asked to manage, Helmer said they largely provide "internal-facing services."
"We're providing a lot of support for our internal staff and employees. So, from that perspective, it makes a lot of sense that as a team we all kind of work together and coordinate to make sure that we're providing those critical services internally, which really affects how the city as a whole is able to provide services to its residents," she explained, calling the job an exciting opportunity.
The departments Helmer would oversee currently are under the purview of Jim Filby Williams, Duluth's director of public administration. Going forward, Filby Williams would oversee city parks, properties and libraries.
In announcing the proposed change of duties, Noah Schuchman, Duluth's chief administrative officer, noted that for several years Filby Williams has been tasked with the formidable challenge of overseeing a six-division department. While Schuchman said Filby Williams has performed admirably, given the size of that department and the scope of the work it handles, both he and Mayor Emily Larson agreed a restructuring made sense.
"Our goal is to better align the two groups in a way that makes sure staff has the support they need and that we're utilizing people's talents in the right ways," Schuchman said.
Helmer also offered praise, saying: "Jim has done a phenomenal job with a lot. The six divisions he currently oversees really have very disparate mandates. So, he has really done a great job in that role. But this will absolutely give him the opportunity to really focus on those remaining divisions in his department."
No new hires are anticipated as a result of Helmer's proposed promotion.
Reflecting on the proposed changes, Schuchman said: "We're really lucky we have really good talented people in all the divisions that are impacted by this change. And then we're also very lucky to have two director-level staff members in Chelsea and Jim who are really capable and ready to move all these departments into the future."
Helmer has served as city clerk since 2018. She previously was employed as an associate attorney for Maki & Overom Ltd., a local law firm providing services to local governmental units throughout the region. Helmer's work experience also includes stints as a research law clerk for the League of Minnesota Cities and as a Duluth assistant city clerk.