The Town Clerk is the oldest of public servants in local government, along with the tax collector. The profession traces back before Biblical times. Over the years, Municipal Clerks have become the hub of government, the direct link between the inhabitants of their community and their government.
Oath of Office
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 41, Section 107, "The Town Clerk shall administer the oath of office to every other elected member and every appointed member of every board or commission of a town, and every other elected officer and every appointed officer of a town, shall also, before entering upon his official duties, be sworn to the faithful performance thereof".
The Town Clerk and the Assistant Town Clerk are Justices of the Peace, Notaries Public, and Commissioners to Qualify Public Officers. In addition to that, the Town Clerk serves as:
- Historian of the Community - The entire recorded history of the town and its people is in the care of the Town Clerk.
- Chief Election Official - The Town Clerk supervises voter registration, oversees polling places, all election officers, and the general conduct of all elections. The Town Clerk directs the preparation of ballots, polling places, voting equipment, voting lists, administers campaign finance laws, certifies nomination papers and initiative petitions, and serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Registrars. The Town Clerk conducts the Annual Town Census and prepares the Annual Street List of Residents.
- Recording Officer - The Town Clerk records and certifies all Official Actions of the town, including Town Meeting legislation and appropriations, Election results, Planning and Zoning Board decisions, and signs all notes for borrowing.
- Keeper of the Records and the Town Seal - The Town Clerk keeps all official records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; provides certified copies of Vital Records and conducts genealogical research for members of the public, and is responsible for the maintenance, disposition, and preservation of municipal archival records and materials. The Town Clerk attests by signature and seals to bonds, contracts, bylaws, resolutions, and any other documents requiring town certification.
- Licensing Officer - The Town Clerk issues marriage licenses, business certificates (dba certificates), dog licenses, underground fuel storage registrations, and raffle permits, to name a few.
- Public Records Officer - The Town Clerk provides certified copies of Vital Records and is responsible for the maintenance, disposition, and preservation of municipal archival records and materials.