Career Profile: Municipal clerks
What the job is:
- An office working position, but on behalf of a government (municipal government such as the City of Toronto as compared to provincial or federal governments) that involves customer service functions and many different duties relating to municipal roles (garbage collection, parking fees, local taxes and the like).
Pros of this Job:
- You have an ability to understand and know what the customer is looking for quickly so more likely to work independently.
- There is a lot of variety in tasks that keeps the job interesting and provides many learning opportunities.
- The working environment is fairly quiet.
Cons of this Job:
- You are likely to be standing upright or sitting in a chair for long periods of time.
- Overtime can be likely, particularly with more specialized requests.
- There are usually several repetitive tasks, although they vary more as compared to clerk within a courthouse.
- You are dealing directly with the public and may have to deal with conflict from that interaction.
- Clients may expect you to be an expert on everything.
- Municipal clerks’ starting wage is $14 per hour and can reach up to $31.
- Part-time or full-time positions are available.
- You can earn a higher salary depending on your hours, level of education, requirements of the role, the size of the city you work for, and the amount of work you do.
- A very strong knowledge of Word processing programs, specifically email programs, Microsoft Word and Excel. Knowledge of database management is a strong asset.
- You can communicate effectively through telephone, in person or email.
- A strong understanding of office management, records management, and understanding what you can and cannot do when in the position. (Specifically, this means addressing privacy concerns, what you can retrieve in the records and keeping confidentially when talking about the client.)
Tips to get started:
- Look for office-related college programs. It is recommended to find something specifically in records management.
- Most local cities offer student internships during the summer; this could be a leg up. They’re not always offered though, so watch carefully.
- Bilingualism is a strong asset – It doesn’t have to be French and English, it can be English and another language. This will depend on where you work, and the different languages that your clients may speak.
- Knowledge of Freedom of Information requests, record management strategies, content management software expertise, and being sensitive to privacy concerns are recommended for the position, but also depend on your role as a municipal clerk.
Other points of interest:
You may be asked to do many different and various things depending on your role, such as:
- receiving and processing Freedom of Information requests from the public
- helping them understand where the pipes are on their property so they know where not to dig;
- helping them enroll in activities offered by the municipality (swimming classes, as an example);
- helping members of the public get a new recycling bin.