City Recorder

The Municipal Clerk (or Recorder) is the oldest of public servants in local government, along with the tax collector. The profession traces back before Biblical times. For example, the modern Hebrew translation of Town Clerk is " Mazkir Ha ’ ir " which literally translated, means city or town " Reminder". The early keepers of archives were often called " Remembrancers", and before writing came into use, their memory served as the public record.

Ancient Greece had a city secretary who read official documents publicly. At the opening of a meeting, one of his first duties was to decree a curse upon anyone who should seek to deceive the people.

The Bible has references to town clerks. They were an important part of the Holy Roman Empire's government. The position became more significant in England and Colonial American times.

Over the years municipal clerks have become the hub of government; the direct link between the inhabitants of their community and their government. The clerk is the historian of the community for the entire recorded history of the town (city) and its people is in his or her care.

The eminent political scientist, Professor William Bennett Munro, in one of the first textbooks on municipal administration (1934), stated:

"No other office in municipal service has so many contacts. It serves the mayor, the city council, the city manager, and all administrative departments without exception. All of them call upon it, almost daily, for some service or information. Its work is not spectacular, but it demands versatility alertness, accuracy and no end of patience. The public does not realize how many loose ends of city administration this office pulls together."

These words, written over 50 years ago, are even more appropriate today.

A more detailed history of the municipal clerk is available at the website of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.