Shelia Bellamy retires from county clerk post

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The “Queen” has left the building and Osage County government has a new county clerk.

Shelia Bellamy, who served two four-year terms as clerk, retired at the end of last week. She is succeeded by Robin Slack, who was scheduled to be sworn in Monday, Jan. 4. Bellamy worked a total of 20 years, four months overall at the office of the County Clerk, including the two terms as its leader.

Bellamy, who was the administrative point of contact for the Board of County Commissioners, received a fond going-away on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 28, at the county’s records storage building, located between the courthouse and the county Treasurer’s office.

Treasurer Sally Hulse presented Bellamy with a drink mug bearing the message, “Goodbye attention, hello pension,” and Bellamy said she plans to spend more time with her eight grandchildren during her retirement. Bellamy’s husband, Frank, joined her for the retirement reception, as did her son, Russell, and daughter, Emmy.

“Try to suffer through it,” Court Clerk Jennifer Burd told Bellamy with a smile.

Bellamy noted that she would not be entirely through making public appearances after she left the office on Dec. 31. She explained that she would need to be at Slack’s swearing-in on Monday morning, Jan. 4. Bellamy also helpfully reminded Burd of a piece of paperwork she needed to submit.

District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney approached Bellamy a short while later, after she had taken a seat, and gave her a gentle nudge on the left shoulder. Bellamy looked around at McKinney, with whom she has regularly sparred in good humor, and said: “You make sure any day you call me this week you still call me the Queen.”

Bellamy explained McKinney once telephoned her office and asked for “the Princess.” Bellamy laughed as she recalled that she responded with, “I’m not the Princess, I’m the Queen.”

McKinney said he had asked Bellamy if she had any regrets and she said, “no.” He also pointed out the silver plastic tiara and scepter that had been placed on the refreshment table next to the cake in acknowledgement of her “royal” rank.

District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones observed in a good-natured manner that Bellamy has been a source of correction for county commissioners whenever they make mistakes.

“Crash more skulls,” her son, Russell, playfully told his mother. “You’ve got a few days to do it.”

Bellamy’s mind turned, however, to more serious things.

“This year has been probably the most challenging year for all of us,” Bellamy said, referring to the county’s COVID-19 response in 2020. She added that 2019, the previous year, with the heavy spring flooding that damaged county infrastructure and devastated some communities, was also a challenge.

“I’ve met a lot of nice people, made a lot of friends,” Bellamy said of her years in public service. She ran for the county clerk job in 2012 and took office in January 2013. She had two opponents in her first election campaign and ran unopposed the second time. She recalled that she was one of more than 30 brand-new county clerks who took office across Oklahoma in 2013. “My husband helped me out a lot. He put up a lot of signs.”

“Campaigning is a lot of hard work,” she said, adding that she will not miss that aspect of holding public office.

Bellamy said the fact that Slack ran unopposed to succeed her made it easier to offer training and guidance to the new clerk.

“It couldn’t have worked out any better for me, or for her, this year,” Bellamy said.

Kelly Bland, the county’s tourism director, stopped by and thanked Bellamy for welcoming her to county government and making her job easier.

Bellamy also had a visit from Lincoln County Clerk Alicia Wagnon and her first deputy.

Bellamy was continuing to think, however, even during her retirement reception, about remaining duties – for instance, preparing for an Excise Board meeting later in the week.