As the SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, consider how the organization — and the duties of the municipal clerk — have changed over the years.
Spring MCTI graduates
Initially, MCTI lasted one entire week per year for three years. But in 1991, finance directors, clerks and treasurers across the state completed a survey in which they expressed interest in replacing the full week with two sessions per year lasting 2 ½ days each. The officials surveyed said more city workers would be able to attend MCTI if they only had to leave their posts at city hall for 2 ½ days at a time instead of a whole week. The three-year duration of MCTI remained the same.
Clerks, too, have seen their roles and responsibilities keep pace with changing times.
"The position has grown from a secretarial position to one that is an integral part of a city's management team," said Sherron Skipper, municipal clerk for the City of Hartsville. A member since 1988, she served as vice president from 1995 to 1997, president from 1997 to 1999, and immediate past president until 2000.
Technology has also played a big role in the responsibilities of today's clerks.
"It has gone from totally paper records to mostly digital with some paper still for historic originals," said Skipper.
That's just one reason new municipal clerks should stay on top of the latest technology, said Skipper.
The soft skills are changing, too. And that requires being attuned to each city's unique culture.
"Learn public servanthood in an environment where different forms of government and jurisdictions can dictate the political culture," she added. "I also recommend new clerks develop excellent public customer service — Learn to smile, be friendly and don't sweat the small stuff."
Added Skipper: "I am looking forward to what changes lie ahead in our profession for the future."