Clerk History

The municipal clerk is the oldest of public servants in local government, along with the tax collector. The profession traces back before biblical times. Ancient Greece had a city secretary who read official documents publicly. In England during the Middle Ages, the clerk was considered a scholar, one who could read and write, and thus served as notary, accountant, recorder, etc., and tied the past to the present by keeping all records. In colonial times when the colonists first settled in Plymouth, MA, the town clerk was one of the earliest offices established. This person recorded all vital records for births, deaths, marriages, as well as appointments, deeds, election of officers, land grant information, tax collection, property assessments, and budgets.

Role of Clerk

Over the years, the 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, or county and its people are in his or her care. In the last 10 to 15 years, the role of the city clerk has become increasingly more complex, requiring that the present day clerk be a professional administrator along with all of his/her diversified duties.

Additional Information

The Maryland Municipal Clerks Association is a nonprofit organization established at the Maryland Municipal League's annual convention in June 1976, by municipal clerks who recognized the need for a professional association in the State of Maryland. The Maryland Municipal Clerks Association elects a clerk of the year annually. The awardee is honored at the MML annual convention.