Tag Archives: City Clerks

Do You Know What Your City Clerk Does?

Ah, democracy! Where citizens (okay, at least the ones who bother going to the polls) choose their public servants, after weighing their qualifications for the positions to be filled.

So, I’ll ask an inconvenient question: what does your City Clerk do? How about the auditor? Assessor? Recorder? What about those offices at the state level?

According to the Indiana Code, city clerks perform the following tasks:

(1) Serve as clerk of the city legislative body under IC 36-4-6-9 and maintain custody of its records.
(2) Maintain all records required by law.
(3) Keep the city seal.
(4) As soon as a successor is elected and qualified, deliver to the successor all the records and property of the clerk’s office.
(5) Perform other duties prescribed by law.
(6) Administer oaths when necessary in the discharge of the clerk’s duties, without charging a fee.
(7) Take depositions, without charging a fee.
(8) Take acknowledgement of instruments that are required by statute to be acknowledged, without charging a fee.
(9) Serve as clerk of the city court under IC 33-35-3-2, if the judge of the court does not serve as clerk of the court or appoint a clerk of the court under IC 33-35-3-1.

Among those “other duties prescribed’–at least in Indianapolis, the Clerk hands out and certifies marriage licenses (and can officiate at marriage ceremonies), handles child support payments, serves on the County Election Board and administers elections.

So here’s my question: how much of this did you–my savvier-than-the-average-citizen readers–know?

We could engage in a similar test for a number of other city and state offices. Which raises the question, how many of these positions should we actually be voting for?

I’ll be the first to admit that I have no basis upon which to form an opinion of the relative merits of candidates for Coroner, to pick just one example. Most of us simply vote for the candidates endorsed by the political party we favor (assuming we vote at all); that being the case, wouldn’t we be better served to make the positions appointive?

What are the pros and cons?