Thursday, May 7, 2020

May 3 – 9 Is Professional Municipal Clerks Week

There is only one staff role that South Carolina law requires of every one of the state’s cities and towns, no matter their form of government: that of the municipal clerk. Every year, to call attention to the value of this role, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks marks Professional Municipal Clerks Week, which in 2020 reaches its 51st year. 

The position is not one that frequently gains attention, but it is a crucial one for keeping a local government operating. Responsibilities for clerks include things like preparing the agendas for council meetings and then creating minutes of the meetings. 

Clerks also maintain the records of a city’s ordinances and council’s resolutions, as well as the records of appointed commissions and committees. Many clerks also serve as financial officers and administrators. Clerks must keep up with the technological needs of local government. That aspect of their work has taken on a major new dimension during the COVID-19 pandemic since many councils have gathered remotely in electronic meetings for the first time. Clerks have played a critical role in working out the many technical and training issues of ensuring that councilmembers can participate in these meetings and that the public can watch them and even take part in public hearings. 

The SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association provides training for each of those professions. The listserve it provides for discussion among its members has in recent months included more of a focus on clerks discussing the logistics involved in virtual council meetings. The topic has also received attention in the Municipal Resources for COVID-19 videocast series from the Municipal Association.

The SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association, which has many municipal clerks among its past presidents, provides training for the varied job responsibilities of its members. 

MFOCTA is also a cosponsor of the Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute. It’s a three-year program which counts toward the International Institute of Municipal Clerks' Certified Municipal Clerks designation.