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What does a City Clerk do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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A city clerk is the person in charge of a city’s administrative functions. His job is to keep daily operations running efficiently and accurately. He normally supports the city manager as well as the mayor, city council and any other personnel directly involved in the management of the city.

In addition to the maintenance of all official files and records, the clerk also regularly oversees the fiscal operations, such as paying vendors and suppliers. He is commonly required to prepare budgets, review the accuracy and validity of expenditures and submit requests for budget revisions to the city manager. The petty cash funds for general office expenses are normally his responsibility.

If the city government structure includes a city council and mayor, the city clerk is typically required to prepare the agendas for each of their meetings and notify city commissions if their input is required for certain agenda items. These commissions often include the planning and environmental impact commissions as well as the design review board and public works council. The clerk customarily assembles the agenda packets and distributes them to the council members. Minutes of the meetings are ordinarily recorded and edited by the clerk and distributed to the council members upon completion.

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When the city holds elections, the city clerk is frequently in charge of the municipal election details. This generally includes preparing and verifying ballot information and distribution of the ballots via mail or at city hall. Appointing and training election workers is frequently part of his job, along with the counting and verification of the election results.

When municipal codes or city charters are altered, the clerk is ordinarily required to ensure proper notifications of the actions are published in local newspapers. If public hearings on issues that affect the citizens are held, he is customarily expected to post notices of the meetings in a timely manner. All files and historical records regarding the city’s government are traditionally maintained in a safe and secure location by the city clerk.

This clerk is normally in charge of screening, hiring and managing his support staff. If city buildings or properties require repairs or maintenance, the public bid notifications and bid processing are usually administered by the city clerk. Contracts entered into with the winning contractors are generally overseen by the clerk.

Qualifications for a city clerk position generally include a high school diploma or equivalent. Most cities prefer a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. Experience in office management or administrative support is a plus. Exemplary organizational skills are generally required to handle the wide range of responsibilities of a person with this job.

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Discuss this Article

RoyalSpyder
Post 3

Having a high position can really teach you a lot about yourself, and about other people. Not only do you learn to grow a thicker skin, but you learn that no matter what decisions you make, good or bad, there will always be people waiting to criticize you for even the smallest screw-up. It's unfair that this happens, but it's a part of life, and to be perfectly honest, life isn't fair.

Chmander
Post 2

@Viranty - You make some great points. Also, regardless of what position you're in, and whether you're a mayor of the city or the president of a country, one thing you need to remember is that people always come first, and that every decision you make will affect them, big and small.

Viranty
Post 1

I've never been a city clerk, but I can imagine that it much be a lot of responsibility. After all, you're partly in charge of the city, aren't you? Unless that honor goes to the mayor. It's funny how until you have a high role or position, you don't realize how much responsibility it really is, until you experience it for yourself.

For example, though I've never been the President of the United States before (obviously), I can't even imagine how much responsibility a task like that involves. With a job like that, you basically have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Overall, we can discuss how much we want to about how difficult it must be, but unless we're in that position, we won't know what it's really like. That goes for any form of employment.

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