The term “clerk” is an ancient and honorable one. It comes from the early middle ages when churches regulated many local government matters and only clergymen were educated and could write; therefore, the idea of a clerk as a writer, keeper of records and local official comes from this history. The first settlers in America soon created the office of parish or town clerk, and the post continues today as an essential position in municipal government. Every city and town in the nation, regardless of size or form of government, has a clerk or equivalent position.
In Florida, the city clerk is an important and exacting position in municipal government. The clerk is expected to know virtually everything about the operation of the city and how to accomplish all that needs to be done. Even when the clerk is not an expert, the clerk’s office must know where to refer a question or problem for proper action or answer. The role of the municipal clerk has been well described by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks:
“The clerk’s office can be truly called the hub of local government. It is the clerk who is the contact between the citizens and the government. It is he or she to whom most complaints are brought. The Clerk gives advice on many subjects, not necessarily relating to the government, but by his or her contact with the public, they, for a great part, place confidence in them as the one who can answer most any question.
Appointed by the City Commission. Under general administrative direction, to participate in and supervise the City budgetary process, financial activities, personnel activities, record retention, and perform related duties.
Supervises the collection and distribution of funds by the City, coordinating staff; prepares the overall budget; supervises the collection of all money and fees due the City; coordinates the payment of all City bills, including the payroll. Coordinates the investment of idle City funds; ensures that legal requirements are met regarding public notices, publications, and posting of City business, keeps appropriate records, oversees City Financial statement; works closely with citizens, elected and appointed officials.