Youngsville Clerk Emily Hurd and Mayor Fonzie Flowers
In my line of work, making sense of government actions, keeping track of what official said or did what when, and figuring out the quickest way to get a hold of pertinent information is incredibly crucial.
Theoretically, county managers, town managers and town administrators are the staff members one would expect to go through for that type of information.
And, don't get me wrong, they often do -- when they have time.
Practically, though, it's often the town clerk who you can count on when you need to know, among other things:
• Which commissioner voted to raise taxes during a budget meeting from five years ago;
• When was the last time the town's governing board voted to give employees a pay raise;
• How can I get a recording of a meeting so I can make sure who said what, when;
• How long do you think this next meeting is going to be because I need to decide whether I need to take a pre-meeting nap or pack dinner.
As we all know, county and town leaders come and go.
And, most recently, we've gotten a series of new town managers and administrators, meaning clerks to the board are the folks who have the best institutional memory.
And, when you need information on how town or county government operates -- or is supposed to operate -- a clerk to the board is your best bet for getting the straight dope.
So, like I said before, having a reliable person to count on for that kind of information is very important to the work that I do.
And, in the 17 years -- wow, 17 flipping years -- that I've been at The Franklin Times, I've had the good fortune of interacting with town and county clerks who were patient with me and, most importantly, able to gather the information that I've needed.
They would probably all be worthy of awards in my book, but it's always nice when someone else recognizes their work.
I'm sure in the county's history, its town and county clerks have been recognized for their work -- Franklin County Clerk to the Board Kristen King was recognized in 2012 -- but, most recently, the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments recognized Youngsville Town Clerk Emily Hurd as the region's Clerk to the Board of the Year.
"[Hurd] is a public servant of the highest quality and sets the example for others to emulate," Youngsville Town Administrator Phillip Cordeiro said in his nomination letter.
Mayor Fonzie Flowers, who presented Hurd with the award during the Sept. 28 ceremony, said she has been the backbone for town government.
"The Town of Youngsville is a rapidly growing town of 2,000 residents and until November of 2018, Emily was the only full-time staff member in the administration department," he said. "She leads by example and regularly takes on many roles outside her normal area of responsibility.
"She consistently takes the initiative to help the team in any way she can and makes a marked difference in the morale of town staff."
Right now, I know what you're probably thinking: Great, town and county clerks makes your news-gathering job a lot easier, big whoop.
Just remember, while you may have your particular feelings about the media, we are gathering information about your and our communities on behalf of the people, so that you can know what's going on in your neighborhoods, communities, towns and counties.
And, if John Q. Public is looking for information about town or county actions, you're more than likely going to be assisted by a clerk to the board.
And, even if you bypass them in person and head straight to a town or county government site to check minutes from a meeting, it is a clerk to the board who has compiled that information and presented it in a format that's easy to digest.
So, if and when you see and need your town or county clerks, offering a thanks wouldn't hurt.
And, they are:
• Bunn, Pamela Perry;
• Franklinton, Kim Worley/Christie Elam Town Clerk/Assistant Town Clerk, respectively;
• Franklin County, Kristen King;
• Louisburg, Carolyn Patterson;
• Youngsville, Emily Hurd.