Citizen Service
Print this PageSite Feedback
City Clerk Origin
The municipal clerk, along with the tax collector, is the oldest of public servants.  The early keepers of the archives were often called "remembrancers", and before writing came into use, their memory was the public record.  The Office of Clerk can be traced back to the year 1272 A.D.  The title as we know it is derived from the middle ages.  A "Clerk" was any member of a religious order, a "cleric" or "clergyman."  Since, for all practical purposes, the scholarship of the Middle Ages was limited to the clergy, the name "clerk" came to be synonymous with "scholar."

When the early colonists came to America, they set up forms of local government to which they had been accustomed, and the office of clerk was one of the first established.  The colony at Plymouth appointed a person to act as a recorder.

Over the years, municipal clerks have become the hub of government, the direct link between the inhabitants of their towns and their government.  The clerk is the historian of the community.

How can one office in municipal service have so many contacts?  It serves the mayor, the city council, city manager, all administrative departments and citizens without exception.  All call on the clerk, daily, for some service or information.   The work is not spectacular, but it demands versatility, alertness, accuracy, and patience.

As stated in the North Carolina General Statutes 160A-171: "There shall be a city clerk who shall give notice of meetings of the council, keep a journal of the proceedings of the council, be the custodian of all city records, and shall perform any other duties that may be required by law or the council."

There also is a state statute provision for a Deputy City Clerk, NCGS 160-A-172, "The council may provide for a deputy city clerk who shall have full authority to exercise and perform any of the powers and duties of the city clerk that may be specified by the council."

The City Charter Sec. 4.02 (contained in the City Code Book) states "The City Council shall appoint the City Clerk, [and] City Attorney [and] City Manager, each of whom shall hold office during the pleasure of the City Council."

Related Links:
North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks (NCAMC)
International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIAMC)

Return to Top