Meet Helena's Mayor & Commissioners

The City Commission is composed of five voting members, including the mayor. Members of the commission shall be elected for terms of four years; two positions being filled at each general election. The City Commission is a non-partisan body, as mandated by the City Charter, and must be residents of the City of Helena, as well as, qualified electors.

Mayor Wilmot J. Collins

Mayor Wilmot J. Collins Bio

Wilmot J. Collins was born, raised, and partly educated in the small West African country of Liberia. He graduated from Carroll High School (a catholic boarding school) and later graduated with an Associate of Arts from Ricks Institute Junior College (a Baptist Institution) and matriculated to the University of Liberia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.  Wilmot also received a professional certificate from the Liberian Foreign Service Institute.

Wilmot has a master’s degree in Human Resources Management and is currently preparing a dissertation for his PhD in Forensic Psychology.

Wilmot considers himself an Army Vet but a Navy retiree, after 22 years in the US Military.  He’s also worked for VA Montana as the Administrative Officer for the facility, as well as Immigration Service Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Montana Department of Health and Human Services as a Child Protection Specialist.

In 2017, Wilmot took a leap of faith at the urging of his son to get into politics. He became Montana’s first African American Mayor, winning the 16-year incumbent by 51% to 49% of the votes. In 2021, Wilmot won his second term with 68% of the votes.

Wilmot considers himself a public servant and not a politician.

Commissioner Emily Dean

Commissioner Emily Dean Bio

Commissioner Emily Dean Bio

Commissioner Emily Dean is a proud citizen of Helena where she serves the community while also advocating for kids and public education. Experiencing some of the challenges facing many Montanans, Emily resolved to take on the causes of the working class through the pursuit of educational equity and expanding opportunities for families. She learned the value of public service at an early age through involvement in volunteerism and community building activities. Through the influence and example of her mother, grandparents and family, Emily learned the value of hard work and dedication to community. 

​Emily is a product of Carroll College where she was elected Student Body President and spearheaded a number of student- centered campaigns that continue to impact students’ well-being. Upon graduation, Emily moved to Dallas where she taught high school U.S. Government and Economics in the neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Through the experiences with and of her students, Emily’s deep belief in the power of education to improve opportunities and building an inclusive community was affirmed. After receiving a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University, Emily returned to Helena determined to bring opportunity to our community. In addition to her role as a school teacher, she has served in a variety of communications and advocacy roles within government and non-profit organizations. 

In recent years, Emily has led the revival of the historic Downtown Helena landmark of the Montana Club, serving as President of the Board of Directors as the 135-year-old establishment transitioned from a private non-profit organization to a thriving community-owned cooperative.

On the Commission, Emily is an advocate for high-quality city services, improved sustainability, expanding accessibility and transparency in local government, developing strong job opportunities, and improving quality of life for all who call Helena home.

On the Commission, Emily serves as the Commission representative on the Transportation Coordinating Committee, Information Technology and Services Committee, Civilian Advisory Board Working Group, Student Resource Officer Working Group, Americans with Disabilities Compliance Committee, and Audit Committee.


Commissioner Sean Logan

Commissioner Sean Logan Bio

Commissioner Sean Logan Bio

Sean Logan was born in the midwest and raised in Helena, his family moving here when he was two years of age.  After being educated in Helena schools, Commissioner Logan attended Montana State University where he attained a degree in Mathematics.  He has worked as a ranch hand, horse trainer and farrier, but ultimately settled on a career as a firefighter with the City of Helena Fire Department.  Working his way through the ranks, Commissioner Logan spent the last three years of his career as the chief of the department, retiring in late 2015 after twenty years of service. 
Having grown up and later establishing permanent roots in Helena, Commissioner Logan has always had a keen interest in local affairs.  Understanding that commission decisions affect not only the day-to-day operations of city government, but greatly impact the lives of Helenans, he ran twice for the position of City Commissioner.  This first time in 2017 (unsuccessfully) and then had a bit better luck in 2019.  Commissioner Logan and his wife have two daughters and he a son from a previous marriage.  He enjoys fishing, trap shooting and uilleann piping. 

Commissioner Melinda Reed

Commissioner Melinda Reed Bio

Commissioner Reed’s work for the City continues a career of public service in Helena and around the world.

She holds two jobs in addition to City Commissioner. At the state Department of Health and Human Services, she focuses on ways to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses. She is also the executive director for a nonprofit organization in the Netherlands that works to end impunity for conflict related sexual violence. She is the mother to the 9-year-old boy who managed her campaign.

Reed recently served on the board of directors for the YWCA of Helena, a local organization devoted to providing transitional housing and supportive services for homeless women and their children. Her interest in the City Commission stems from her stint as Helena’s Interim City Manager in 2020. Tapped by the Commission to guide the city during the search for a permanent city manager, she also navigated the first few months of the pandemic. Prior to those endeavors, Reed was executive director of the Friendship Center, a local domestic and sexual violence shelter. 

Born in New York City and raised overseas as the daughter of a diplomat, Reed graduated from Trinity College with a bachelor's degree in public policy and law. She also holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Before moving to Helena in 2013, Reed lived and worked around the world as an international humanitarian aid worker responding to conflicts and natural disasters including in Iraq, Rwanda, Haiti, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Commissioner Andy Shirtliff

Commissioner Andy Shirtliff Bio

Commissioner Andy Shirtliff Bio

Andy Shirtliff is a proud Montanan. He was born in Butte to a single mother from Anaconda. He was adopted and raised in Kalispell where he attended High School and Community College before graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana. Andy lives in Helena with his wife Laura, a Helena native and business owner, and her two sons, Peyton and Cooper,
who both attend Capital High.

Two Montana governors have appointed Andy to advocate for Montana’s small businesses, advance economic development, and develop workforce strategies. During his time in the Governor’s office, Montana was ranked as the number one state in the nation to start a small business. Andy has lived and worked across our great state, having worked in all of Montana’s 56 counties. Currently, he works full-time for the people of Montana at the Deptartment of Labor and Industry, Andy’s focus is on business engagement and finding solutions to our state’s workforce crisis.

Andy enjoys volunteering with organizations such as the Lewis & Clark Disaster Action Team of the American Red Cross of Montana, Habitat for Humanity, and the Helena Food Share. He has served on the boards and committees of organizations like the Montana Economic Developers Association, Helena Farmers Market, and ExplorationWorks, and he was the Chair of the
Downtown Urban Renewal District Advisory Board for the City of Helena during the pandemic before stepping down to fulfill the Commission role.

Commissioner Shirtliff’s boards & committees:

  • Board of the Montana Business Assistance Connection - Economic Development
  • Board of Adjustments - Zoning
  • Non-Motorized Transporation Advisory Council

Share Comments

The Mayor and City Commissioners will recieve a copy of submissions from the General Comment form (above). For those wishing to speak directly to their elected officials on specific agenda items, attendance of a public meeting is strongly encouraged.