Commitment to Transparency

A woman sits behind a desktop computer at a desk talking on the phone.
Angela Harris is responsible for all official records for the city of Jackson.

New municipal clerk uses Extension training to earn promotion

Story by Nathan Gregory • Photos by Kevin Hudson

A smiling woman in business attire standing at the bottom of a staircase.
Angela Harris, City of Jackson Municipal Clerk

From municipal elections to public-records requests, all official records for the city of Jackson are the responsibility of Angela Harris.

2020 was a year of professional accomplishments for Harris. Not only was she appointed the state capital city’s municipal clerk, but she also earned the Certified Municipal Clerk designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.

This achievement is one of the most sought-after credentials in her profession, as it requires a minimum of 3 years of specialized coursework and professional experience.

The educational workshops Harris began attending in 2015 to enhance her knowledge as a municipal deputy clerk were also pre- requisites for membership in the Mississippi Municipal Clerks and Collectors Association. These statewide training workshops are conducted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development.

She worked with former Extension instructor Patrick Miller and current instructor Dr. Jason Camp.

“I try to attend all training sessions and conferences offered by MSU Extension. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jason and Patrick during my time in the MMCCA program,” Harris says. “I’ve attended a lot of sessions under their leadership since I began attending the MMCCA certification program in 2015. They are both very knowledgeable, thorough, and professional.”

Harris leads an eight-person department responsible for ensuring the integrity of municipal elections and run-offs, managing public-records requests, and making the public aware of city ordinances and resolutions passed by the council.

Harris served 7 years as the city’s deputy municipal clerk before being promoted to her current position. The courses she took in the certification program during that time covered open-meetings laws, purchase laws, agendas and minutes, elections, personnel management, municipal laws and bonds, and ethics in government.

Camp said these and other courses the center offers are instrumental in developing the skills needed for municipal clerks to serve residents more effectively. Center staff also offer training programs for county supervisors, tax assessors, chancery clerks, and attorneys for county and city governing boards.

“One of the ways we seek to strengthen communities across Mississippi is through assisting local government officials with educational programs, technical assistance, and science-based information they can use to keep getting better at what they do,” Camp says. “Angela has an enthusiasm for public service and for professional development that was easy for me to see when she was in the Certified Municipal Clerk program. She was always looking to improve, and I think that’s why Jackson’s city council appointed her unanimously.”

Harris remembers clearly the elation she felt when reading the email she received in October 2020 informing her she had received the Certified Municipal Clerk designation.

“If the Extension Service did not offer these training classes for clerks, I would not be in the position that I currently have today. I would not have obtained the necessary knowledge to be promoted,” she says. “Before enrolling into the certification program, I had a general idea of the duties of a deputy city clerk. I finished the program with a better grasp of those duties. Many thanks to Mississippi State Extension Service for developing clerks and preparing them for success.”

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Extension Matters cover volume 7 number 2.