City Clerk an Important Function of Local Government

City Clerk Deb Hall, Deputy Clerk Lori Panzer

City Clerk’s Office Serves Marshfield Citizens

Responsible for the care and custody of the corporate seal and all papers and records of the City of Marshfield, the City Clerk’s department is an important element of local government.

Other tasks of the Clerk include licensing (liquor, food, cigarette, etc), serving as secretary on various City committees (including Common Council), updating and maintaining the Municipal Code, administering resolutions and budget resolutions, administering oaths of office, providing customer service for elected officials and the public, preparing agendas and packets for City meetings, and much more.

Deb Hall has been with the City of Marshfield since 1993, and though her job responsibilities have not changed much during her tenure, the laws and requirements for tasks including administering elections and granting liquor licenses have continually evolved, as have the ways those tasks are completed.

“The way we do business has changed,” said Hall. “We use a lot more technology now and have to always be thinking of ways to streamline processes and be more efficient because budgets get tighter every year.”

Busy all year long, with election seasons being especially engrossing, Hall must ensure that various deadlines are met.

“We always have Spring Elections that keep us busy January through April. Liquor license renewals go out in March and are due in the office by April 15 of each year,” she said. “During the month of May, we are processing those applications and at the same time other businesses/customers are coming in to renew their bartender licenses, food licenses, cigarette licenses, and mobile home park licenses, which expire on June 30th.”

With various festivals and the vendors attending them, Summer months are active with more licensing. Then there are Board of Review responsibilities in May or June and budget preparation beginning in July. Every other year, there are Fall elections that are held in August and November which keep the office very busy during August – December. Then, in October and November, the department begins preparing tax bills.

Throughout the year, staff are processing Special Assessments, attending meetings and then preparing the minutes, and conducting everyday duties which include helping customers that call or come to the counter.

With most of their work mandated by State Statute, it is the Clerk’s responsibility to carry those duties out, and this is something Hall takes very seriously.

“Elections are very important because it is the best way to make your voice heard. It provides the public with some say in how the city/country is being run,” she said. “It is the Clerk’s responsibility to ensure that we hold fair, accessible, and transparent elections.”

Hall belongs to a Clerk’s group, where she stays updated from the Wisconsin Elections Commission on law changes and new procedures. She also attends training through the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, the University of Green Bay, and various webinars.

Example of a program Hall participated in for Marshfield Community Television.

Ensuring liquor license compliance and maintaining accurate meeting minutes are also fundamental to a successful government.

“Minutes of meetings are very important because it is a permanent record showing what actions were taken,” said Hall. “We also make sure reports are filed by the due date and are not missed because this could affect revenue that we receive from the State.”

If citizens have questions, Hall encourages them to contact her office.

“Citizen’s contact our office for everything. Even if it doesn’t pertain to this office we try and get them the information that they are requesting or direct them to the right source,” she said. “If you are starting a business it is important to contact the Clerk’s office to discuss licensing requirements.”

Other common inquiries are election-related topics, including registering to vote, absentee voting, and running for local office. Questions about special assessments are also common, as are questions about meeting minutes or agendas.

“The City Clerk’s office is available to assist residents with any questions or concerns they may have,” said Hall. “We work closely with the Common Council and city staff, as well as with the residents. We are very accessible and will always try our best to do a good job for the residents of the City of Marshfield.”

News Desk
Author: News Desk