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5 Things I Learned in my First Year as a Clerk

In June 2012, I was appointed Acting Clerk/Administrator of my municipality.  This should have been an exciting time in my life but to be honest I was completely frightened by the idea. I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready for this, I couldn’t possibly take on so much responsibility at such an early stage in my municipal career.  But I was wrong.

That appointment was a life changer for me. Once I got over the initial panic I immersed myself in learning my new role. What a shock! There was so much to learn and I didn’t know where to begin. Wasn’t there an operations manual to municipal government laying around somewhere? Anything that can give me some direction in where to start? If this sounds familiar, don’t panic. I survived and so will you…here’s how!

Budget: The Number One Hot Button Issue Facing Clerks Today

In our recent 2014 North American Municipal Clerks Survey we asked: what is the number 1 hot button issue you as a Clerk are currently facing?  It was sent to over 15,000 Clerks with the goal of establishing a comprehensive North American picture of the Clerks community.  The answers provided for this multiple choice question ranged across the entire spectrum of Clerk duties (and that’s a pretty broad range!) from Records Management Processes to relationships with Council and transparency to name a few.  Clerks were asked to rank their top 3 because when you wear so many hats, we figured there would be more than one issue that is top of mind.   

The answer we got back from Clerks was clear - the number one hot button issue is a lack of budget in their department. 


My Checklist for Holding Elections in Remote Areas

Does your local government have pockets of voters located in remote areas requiring unique considerations for polling stations?   I work for the Regional District (similar to a County) of Fraser-Fort George, British Columbia, Canada. Being a geographically large but population small regional district, I commonly manage rural voting locations.  Here’s a list of considerations I hope you’ll find useful for your next election. 

6 Tips to Improve Your Professional Presence and Gain More Influence as a Clerk

As a Municipal Clerk you are always on.  Whether at the office, at the monument dedication, or even at the grocery store, as a Clerk you must always exude professional presence when you are in public.  A professional presence will help you to achieve many of your goals as a Clerk.  A polished image can assist in getting that budget approved, being calm and poised during meetings, and becoming a charismatic good will ambassador for your office and your community.  Professionals that have a ‘presence’ are described as having ‘that something’ or having an ‘aura.'  Perhaps people like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, come to mind when thinking of individuals with charisma and influence.

Many believe that one must be born having charisma and presence; however, we can all hone in our skills, and as Steve Covey states in his highly acclaimed book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People we must always, “sharpen our saw.” 

Let’s begin sharpening your saw by building your own Professional Presence Toolkit. 

Where is the Next Generation of Clerks Coming From?

The results from our 2014 North American Clerks Survey are in.  In the first of an extended series based on our finding, we discuss where the next generation of clerks will be coming from.  

Over 15,000 Clerks received the survey from across North America - 60% of respondents were over 50 years old and 20% were over 60 years old. While people stopped short of saying they will be retiring soon – it’s a safe to suggest that based on the results you can expect around 50% of Clerks to retire in the next 10 years.

The question when looking at these numbers is – who is going to fill the critical role of the Clerk as a large number of people retire over the next years?