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April 17, 2021

New City Clerk to Take Helm

– The city has promoted one of its own to serve as its future
gatekeeper of public records, liaison for passport information and
recorder of legislative sessions.
Gilroy – The city has promoted one of its own to serve as its future gatekeeper of public records, liaison for passport information and recorder of legislative sessions.

Shawna Serna, who joined the city as an administrative assistant in September, was appointed Gilroy City Clerk last weekend by city council. The San Juan Bautista resident will earn $92,148 a year when she starts the job in July, two months after completing an associates degree in liberal arts at Gavilan College.

Serna served as the elected clerk in her native city for the past six years. She still holds the title while she works full-time in Gilroy, but will relinquish it once she officially takes over as Gilroy’s clerk at the beginning of July.

“I joined the ranks of San Juan Bautista because I was a resident, grew up there and loved my community,” Serna said. “I really wanted to get involved in local government … It’s just a passion. It’s a perfect fit for me.”

That sentiment was echoed by city officials who selected Serna from a half dozen finalists for the job.

“She demonstrated a passion for the job,” Mayor Al Pinheiro said. “And obviously the people she worked with at City Hall felt she was of high caliber. This is a job she’s been preparing for and continues to train for.”

In addition to six years of work as a city clerk in San Juan Bautista, Serna, 41, is now halfway toward a three-year certification as a master municipal clerk. The degree requires a clerk to demonstrate community involvement as well as a mastery of the more traditional duties of a city clerk. The job is among the most important in the city and involves managing requests for documents from the public, recording minutes of city council meetings, coordinating elections and training new candidates and council members in campaign and government protocol, to mention a few duties. But for most citizens, the clerk is best known as the main contact for obtaining a passport.

Rhonda Pellin has juggled those tasks for Gilroy for the past decade. In the next few months, Serna will “shadow” Pellin to learn the ins and outs of life as Gilroy’s city clerk.

“I think she’s going to do a fantastic job,” Pellin said.

Outside of work, Serna spends much of her time hiking and backpacking and serving as an advisor to a Girl Scout troop. She plans to get married this June, just before starting her post in Gilroy.

Prior to working in city government, she spent 14 years in managerial positions in the retail industry.

The city clerk position is one of 29 non-unionized jobs that recently had its salary range boosted by city council. Serna, who is starting at the beginning of the range, could eventually match Pellin’s pay of $122,856 at the upper end of the scale.

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