MIDDLEBURY - Middlebury Town Clerk Ann Webster and Assistant Town Clerk Veronica Parrish both completed requirements this year to earn certification from the Vermont Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Association.
The VMCTA established the certification program in 1988 in order to increase the proficiency of Vermont municipal clerks and to strengthen the quality of local government.
In order to qualify for the designation of "Certified Vermont Clerk", a candidate must have served a minimum of three consecutive years as a town clerk or assistant town clerk and complete mandatory courses in elections, recording and records management, municipal law, and vital records.
Additional credits are earned through elective annual VMCTA courses and through institutions recognized by the Association.
Webster jump-started started her municipal education by attending the New England Municipal Clerks Institute during three years focusing on public speaking, parliamentary procedure, government procedures, ethics, the constitution, Workplace technology, meeting facilitation and personnel management. This was followed by two years at the New England Municipal Clerks Academy focusing on leadership and personal development.
Parrish has also brought a wealth of experience to the Middlebury office.
She previously served as town clerk and treasurer for the Town of Granville as well as school treasurer. She has also worked as a paralegal and was co-owner of Vermont Wood Specialties in Granville. Once certified, clerks must continue their education to stay current with changes and become recertified every five years. Parrish started her first year at the New England Municipal Clerk's Institute and will put this experience towards recertification when the time comes.
New to the Middlebury Town Clerk's Office this year is assistant Jan Oosterman who also has experience serving as a town clerk and treasurer for Ferrisburgh.
Municipal clerks are most well known for certifying copies of birth records, issuing marriage licenses, and licensing dogs, but they also serve as presiding election officials, serve on the Vermont Boards of Civil Authority and Abatement. Clerks are responsible for recording and preserving the permanent records of the town.
Clerks may be one of the first individuals a new resident comes into contact with or they may be instrumental in guiding individuals who are considering running for election to a local public office. "First and foremost" says Webster, "we are public servants. As a town clerk you must really enjoy the public or you are in the wrong position."