Cityscape — July 2014
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The role of a municipal clerk is often a misunderstood position in local government. To the uninformed, clerks are often thought to fulfill primarily a clerical role. The importance of the position’s role, however, is quite clear. The tasks are dictated by law or statute and include some of the most basic services expected by residents.

While clerks are tasked with some functions that are clerical in nature, the professionalism associated with this position is apparent to those familiar with local government functions. Clerks are expected to know about day-to-day operations in their communities, and city council members are among the people who benefit from their knowledge and strengths. This is a unique and demanding job and, like any profession, education is key to success in municipal government.

The Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association (IMFOA) focuses on training, mentoring and connecting municipal professionals throughout the state. In April 2014, IMFOA celebrated its 75th anniversary. I was proud to assume the role of IMFOA Board President on such an occasion.

IMFOA offers a variety of courses to assist municipal professionals in their day-to-day official duties and obligations, such as our semi-annual conferences held in Des Moines in April and October, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) regional meeting held in January and IIMC’s annual conference in May.

IMFOA started a state certification program in 2005, which includes Iowa Certified Municipal Clerk and Iowa Certified Municipal Finance Officer designations. Certification initially requires a combination of 100 basic, specialized and flex education hours. Once obtained, certification also needs to be renewed every four years. During this four-year renewal period, the members are required to earn a total of 60 hours of continuing education for each certification they hold—that’s 15 hours continuing education each year.

IMFOA partners with Iowa State University to offer the Municipal Professional Institute and Academy. The Institute offers core training every municipal professional needs and is the only source of the basic hours needed for initial certification.The Academy provides valuable continuing education for seasoned professionals. IMFOA also works with many other organizations, such as the League, to offer flex education hours for certification, as continuing education is the only way to stay current on the constantly changing laws, programs and technology affecting municipal government. For more information about IMFOA’s certification program, visit

Monticello City Clerk/Treasurer Sally Hinrichsen