It's Municipal Clerks Week in South Carolina (bit.ly/clerksweek). The General Assembly deemed it so with resolutions recently passed by the House and Senate. Goose Creek Rep. Joe Daning (former city councilmember) and Manning Senator Kevin Johnson (former mayor and former president of the Municipal Association) introduced the resolutions.
The position of city clerk is the only municipal staff role that is required by state law, regardless of a municipality’s size or form of government. All 271 cities and towns in the state are required to have a clerk.
And while the title “clerk” may conjure up an outdated vision of an old style secretary, nothing could be further from the reality in today’s complex world of local government. Municipal clerks play a critical and varied role to support the mayor, city council, and city manager or administrator.
The clerk’s responsibilities under state law include giving notice of meetings to council members and the public, keeping minutes of its proceedings, and performing other duties as assigned by council. A combined municipal clerk and finance officer role, referred as clerk/treasurer, is common in small to midsize cities. In larger cities, a standalone municipal clerk position usually exists.
Regardless of city size, clerks have seen their roles and responsibilities keep pace with changing times. The state’s only professional organization serving city clerks has played a critical training role as the clerk role has expanded over the years. The South Carolina Municipal Finance Officers and Clerk Treasurers Association, an affiliate organization of the Municipal Association of SC, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (bit.ly/40yrsmeoi)
With more than 250 members statewide, MFOCTA trains clerks and clerk/treasurers on the complexities of running a local government.