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Town Clerk Job Description

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Town clerks, also knows as municipal clerks, are employees of municipal governments or town councils. They perform several administrative tasks, ranging from maintaining council records and issuing licenses and permits to supervising elections within the municipality. This career is suitable for professionals with a background in records management or public administration.

Organization and Record-Keeping

Effective town clerks must possess strong record-keeping and organizations skills. They use these skills to work with several documents, such as birth, marriage and death certificates and applications for business licenses and permits, and implement strategies for maintaining these documents. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also useful to town clerks, because their job entails frequent exchange of information with members of the public and compiling periodic statistical reports. These clerks also require good interpersonal skills to develop positive working relationships with other employees of the municipality.

Issuing Licenses

Although the specific roles of town clerks vary from municipality to municipality, they are mainly responsible for providing services to members of the public on behalf of the municipal government. They review and approve vehicle registrations, along with title, plate and decal applications, and oversee the issuance of several licenses, including marriage, fishing, hunting, and burial licenses. When there are municipal elections, perhaps to elect a mayor, town clerks distribute ballots, hire and coordinate the training of elections officials and lead the tabulation and certification of results. Town clerks also conduct the swearing in of elected officials and respond to public inquiries.

Other Various Duties

Town clerks must account for the funds they receive from processing various public applications. If it is a requirement to deposit the funds into a bank account on a daily basis, they must do so. Town clerks also schedule council meetings, notify attendees on the meeting's time and venue, and must be in attendance to take minutes. Other duties for town clerks include serving as a liaison officers with county, state and federal governments, appointing and supervising deputy town clerks and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations as they execute day-to-day duties.

Becoming a Town Clerk

The employment requirements for town clerks vary by town council. Although you could well be hired for this position with a high school diploma and vast clerical experience, having an associates degree in records management, business or public administration enhances your chances of finding employment. After landing the job, complete the Certified Municipal Clerk Program, which is offered by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks to improve your job credentials. Gaining vast work experience and earning a degree in public or business administration is all you need to advance your career and become a town manager.


Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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