Career Development

What Does a City Clerk Do?

Find out what a city clerk does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a city clerk.

City clerks are responsible for a wide range of administrative duties related to local government. They’re often the primary point of contact for citizens looking to access city services or information. City clerks may also be tasked with maintaining public records, managing elections, and other tasks related to running a municipality.

City clerks commonly work under the supervision of a mayor or other elected official. Their job is to ensure that the day-to-day operations of their city run smoothly. This includes overseeing the delivery of services like trash collection, water treatment, and emergency response.

City Clerk Job Duties

A city clerk typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Compiling and maintaining records of city council meetings, including minutes and votes
  • Maintaining and updating city records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates
  • Coordinating city elections, including developing an electoral process for citizens to cast their votes
  • Planning and organizing civic ceremonies, such as holiday parades, veterans’ recognitions, and groundbreakings for new businesses
  • Supervising the operations of the city clerk’s office, including hiring staff, managing budgets, and providing support to other departments within the city government
  • Providing public information services to citizens through telephone assistance or by responding to questions via email or written correspondence
  • Coordinating city council meetings, including recording attendance and taking notes during meetings
  • Providing notice to residents of public hearings and other government meetings
  • Maintaining filing cabinets with records such as plat maps of city property lines and maps of proposed zoning changes

City Clerk Salary & Outlook

City clerks’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the municipality and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $63,500 ($30.53/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $106,000 ($50.96/hour)

The employment of city clerks is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

City governments will need to hire more clerks as they continue to provide services to their residents and businesses in new ways, such as online. However, the use of technology, such as e-citations (electronic citations) for traffic tickets, should allow some clerks to do more work with fewer employees.

City Clerk Job Requirements

The qualifications for becoming a city clerk vary from city to city. However, many city clerks are required to have:

Education: Most city clerks have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some city clerks choose to earn a master’s degree in public administration or another related field. Courses in these programs include public policy, management, economics, statistics and accounting.

Training & Experience: City clerks typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced city clerks. This training may include learning how to use the city’s computer systems, how to file paperwork and how to perform other tasks.

Certifications & Licenses: City clerks are not required to have any certifications to acquire their position. However, there are certifications available for city clerks who wish to increase their earning capacity or make themselves more competitive when attempting to advance in their career.

City Clerk Skills

City clerks need the following skills in order to be successful:

Organization: City clerks are responsible for managing a variety of records and information. Having strong organizational skills can help them keep track of all the information they need to complete their job duties. City clerks also need to be organized when filing paperwork and managing records.

Attention to detail: City clerks are responsible for maintaining records and ensuring that all documents are accurate and up to date. Attention to detail is important for city clerks to ensure that they enter the correct information into databases and files. It’s also important for city clerks to ensure that all documents are filed correctly and that they’re stored in the correct location.

Communication: City clerks often communicate with a variety of people, including other city employees, members of the public and elected officials. They may also need to communicate complex information in a way that is easy to understand. City clerks may also need to communicate with other departments to answer questions or gather information.

Computer skills: City clerks may be required to use a variety of computer programs, including word processing, spreadsheet and database programs. Having strong computer skills can help city clerks navigate their job duties and responsibilities. City clerks may also be required to use software to create and maintain records and documents.

Leadership: City clerks may be responsible for managing a team of employees, so leadership skills can be important for this job. City clerks may also be responsible for training new city clerks, so it can be helpful to have leadership skills to mentor others.

City Clerk Work Environment

City clerks work in a variety of settings, including small town halls, large city halls, and court buildings. They may work for the local government or for the state or federal government. City clerks typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may be required to work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or to perform other duties. City clerks may be exposed to stressful situations, such as dealing with the public, handling sensitive information, or working in a fast-paced environment. They may also be required to travel to other government offices or to attend conferences.

City Clerk Trends

Here are three trends influencing how city clerks work. City clerks will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Digital Services

As cities become more digital, the need for city clerks will shift towards providing digital services. This means that city clerks will need to be well-versed in using technology to provide services to citizens.

City clerks can utilize this trend by developing skills in areas such as data management and customer service. They can also work to improve the city’s online presence by creating a website that is easy to use and provides useful information.

More Collaboration Between City Officials

City officials are increasingly working together to solve problems that affect their communities. This trend is leading to increased collaboration between departments and offices, which requires city clerks to be able to work with others.

By collaborating with other city officials, city clerks can create solutions that are better suited to the needs of their community. They can also share resources and ideas, which can help to make their city run more efficiently.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in the workplace is becoming more common every year. This is especially true for city clerks, who are often responsible for managing records and data in an electronic format.

As technology becomes more prevalent, city clerks will need to learn how to use it effectively in order to keep up with the demands of their job. This includes learning how to use software programs, manage databases, and communicate via email and social media.

How to Become a City Clerk

A career as a city clerk can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, help make their lives easier, and contribute to the success of your community. As a city clerk, you’ll have the chance to learn about the different aspects of local government and how it works. You’ll also gain experience working with technology and software that are used by governments around the world.

To become a city clerk, you’ll need to have strong communication skills, be able to work well under pressure, and be detail-oriented. You should also be comfortable using computers and other office equipment.

Advancement Prospects

The position of city clerk is an entry-level position in city government. Many city clerks start out as administrative assistants or executive secretaries and are promoted to city clerk after demonstrating their competence and loyalty to the municipality. Some city clerks may eventually be promoted to city manager or other senior positions in city government.

City Clerk Job Description Example

The City Clerk is responsible for the management and administration of all official city records. The Clerk’s office is the central repository for all city council agendas, minutes, resolutions, ordinances, and other official documents. The Clerk is also responsible for the management of city elections, voter registration, and campaign finance reporting. The ideal candidate for this position will have experience working with municipal government, strong management and customer service skills, and the ability to maintain confidentiality.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the custodian of all official city records
  • Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all city property
  • Process claims and invoices for payment by the city
  • Prepare agendas and packets for city council meetings
  • Attend all city council meetings and take minutes
  • Post meeting minutes and agendas in a timely manner
  • Manage the city’s social media accounts
  • Serve as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer
  • Respond to public inquiries in a professional and courteous manner
  • Update the city website as needed
  • Coordinate special events held at City Hall
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the city manager or mayor

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in business administration, public administration, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience working in a municipal government office
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • Ability to learn new software programs quickly
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Accurate data entry skills with attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, public administration, or related field
  • 5-7 years experience working in a municipal government office
  • Working knowledge of city ordinances, resolutions, and state statutes
  • Experience with records management and retention
  • Familiarity with open meeting laws and public information requests
  • Notary public certification

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