Over the years municipal clerks have become the hub of government, the direct link between the inhabitants of their community and their government. The clerk is the historian of the community, for the entire recorded history of the town (city) and its people is in his or her care.
The eminent political scientist, Professor William Bennett Munro, writing in one of the first textbooks on municipal administration (1934), stated:
"No other office in municipal service has so many contacts. It serves the mayor, the city council, the city manager (when there is one), and all administrative departments without exception. All of them call upon it, almost daily, for some service or information. Its work is not spectacular, but it demands versatility, alertness, accuracy, and no end of patience. The public does not realize how many loose ends of city administration this office pulls together."
What is a City Clerk?
Echoing the immortal words of President Harry S. Truman, who, upon his visit to Pittsburgh asked, "What the heck is a Prothonotary?" (Although he did not say "heck") many people ask the same question of the City Clerk. Just what is a City Clerk, and what is the City Clerk's place in government?
The official functions and duties of the City Clerk are outlined in the Functions and Duties section of this web site. In this section we hope to provide you with a more esoteric view of the City Clerk's role, and the background and history of this office.
The City Clerk functions much like the Secretary of State. The City Clerk is a Department Head responsible for the legislative operations of the city and directly accountable to the City Council. The City Clerk has direct signature authority and his/her signature is required on all Ordinances, Resolutions, and other official documents of the city. The City Clerk's office is a citywide information and document resource, and is the official records management office for the City. Every municipality in the United States has a City Clerk or someone who functions as one.
Our present City Clerk & Deputy City Clerk are esteemed members of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC). This professional organization boasts over 10,000 members, and is comprised of City Clerks and Deputy City Clerks from the United States, Canada, and other countries. IIMC provides all City Clerks and their assistants with a variety of services and activities to assist them with the duties and responsibilities of their office. The official Mission and Purpose of the organization, as indicated in Article III of the Constitution of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, is to prepare its membership to meet the challenge of the diverse roles of the Municipal Clerk by providing services and continuing professional development opportunities to benefit members and the governments they serve.
Our present City Clerk is in the process of achieving Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) status, and our Deputy City Clerk will soon enter this program. The IIMC Certification Program is a nationally acclaimed award which has advanced the careers of countless clerks. The first Certified Municipal Clerk Program was initiated in 1969 by the membership of IIMC to recognize those Municipal Clerks who had achieved basic levels of professional competency. The CMC award is granted after an applicant has met specific requirements in education, experience and professional participation. The IIMC's central education mission is to provide and facilitate Municipal Clerk learning opportunities directed toward these ends and to the public good.
Office of City Clerk
510 City-County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219