City Clerk-Treasurer

Help city hall and the city council operate smoothly, serve members of the public, and run elections.

A headshot of Zimmerman City Clerk/Treasurer Kary Tillman is shown.Kary Tillman, City of Zimmerman clerk/treasurer

Why she shows up every day: I truly love my job.  Zimmerman has five people working in our city hall. Being in a smaller office setting means I wear many hats and am involved in a lot of things that happen at City Hall, ranging from processing building permits to issuing dog licenses to HR and payroll, investments, running city-wide elections, and working for the city council. I love that I never do the same thing two days in a row.  The variety in my days keeps me coming back day after day.

How she got the job (and how you could too): I went to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and communication with a minor in business administration. I had no intention of working in government but instead pursued a career in PR.  After graduating from college, I was hired on as an interim PR director for a non-profit and absolutely hated the work. Later that year, I was hired by Sherburne County as an administrative assistant, working my way up to become an office manager in my department and serving as secretary to the County Board of Commissioners.

In 2006, I was hired as a finance technician for the city.  The following year, the clerk/administrator left the city and I was appointed as city clerk. Because I was doing so much of the day-to-day financial work, the city council updated my job description and position to clerk/treasurer in 2008. I have been the clerk/treasurer ever since.

What advice do you have for those interested in pursuing a career as a city clerk/treasurer? It’s important to be organized since you will always have many irons in the fire, so to speak. Being a good communicator is vital, and being able to communicate with a wide variety of people is so important. Being detail-oriented is also an important part of working in this position.

The work can be hard, but so rewarding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make sure to network with others in the field, and use the resources available to you. I have learned and received so much help from my fellow clerks and clerk/treasurers, both locally and across the state.  The League of Minnesota Cities and the Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association of MN (MCFOA) are excellent resources for training and education.

Are you interested in learning more about a city career? One great way to get advice is to contact someone in your own city or a city nearby. You can ask questions about the job and learn more about training programs that may be available. Connect to city websites and city contact information through the League of Minnesota Cities.