This week, we will start taking a look at all the people it takes to run Yountville. While most people know who the Town Council is and what they do, many people do not realize the tremendous amount of “behind the scenes” work that goes into running a town or city. We will start this series by talking about the Town (or Municipal) Clerk, who they are, and what they do!
So what is a Municipal Clerk, and what is their role in government?
According to the California City Clerks Association, “The Office of the City Clerk is a service department within the municipal government upon which the City Council, all City departments, and the general public rely for information regarding the operations and legislative history of the City. The City Clerk serves as the liaison between the public and City Council and provides related municipal services.”
The Municipal Clerk is the professional link between citizens and local government. They do their jobs with neutrality and impartiality, and it is their job to remain up to date on changing laws, practices, and standards related to local government. The Municipal Clerk is the local official in charge of overseeing elections, local legislation, open meeting laws, and other policy procedures that ensure the public is kept abreast of local government happenings. During council meetings, the Municipal Clerk ensures that all motions and actions comply with state, federal, and local rules.
Municipal Clerk for the Town of Yountville serves as the Town’s Election Official, Records Manager, Political Reform Act Filing Officer, prepares and distributes Town Council agendas in accordance with the Brown Act, maintains the legislative record of Council proceedings, oversees Board and Commission appointments, provides support to the Town Council and Town Manager, and acts as the custodian of the Town Seal.
When acting as the Election Official for a municipality, the Clerk assists candidates in meeting all the legal requirements before, during, and after an election. They assist with election pre-planning, certification of the election results, filling final campaign documents. They are essential in managing and maintaining our democratic systems.
The Municipal Clerk also acts as the legislative administrator for their municipality. They play a vital role in the decision-making process of the local legislature. The Clerk prepares any legislative agenda items for council meetings and verifies any legal notices that are posted. They are responsible for making sure council meetings run effectively. They are also responsible for recording discussions and relaying information to the public.
The Municipal Clerk is also responsible for overseeing the preservation and protection of the public record. They must maintain and index all minutes, ordinances, and resolutions that are adopted by the council. They also must ensure that all records are made readily available to the public.
The Town of Yountville’s Town Clerk
Michelle Dahme has served as the Town of Yountville Town Clerk since July 2006. She has worked in municipal government since 1997 and is a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) and the City Clerks Association of California (CCAC) and has been a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC). She is the one behind the scenes ensuring our Town Council members are educated and able to perform their duty as community leaders. She will be retiring in 2021, and as a Town Council member who worked with her for six years, I can say that she will be missed, and this community has greatly benefited from her work. Thank you, Michelle.