EMBRACES TEAMWORK AND MISSION TO SERVE
WRITTEN BY: Rod Richardson
PHOTO BY: Karen Lim
Marilyn Sanders has no interest in becoming a household name. She would much rather make sure that she sets a positive and upbeat tone for her staff of dedicated clerks who tirelessly work behind the scenes to make sure KCMO residents know when and where important public meetings are happening.
As city clerk, Sanders runs one of the busiest offices at City Hall. Her two primary objectives, she says, are to offer strong support for the mayor and councilmembers and to keep her staff smiling and inspired. “I prefer to be happy and to smile,” said Sanders, who was appointed City Clerk in June 2012. “I want to make sure my staff is energized and engaged so, for me, a good day is when all of that comes together and our working environment is as stress-free as possible.”
That same principle applies when working with councilmembers and the mayor, each of whom relies on the City Clerk’s office for administrative, research and legislative support. The city clerk is appointed by the mayor and City Council, and her office provides staff support to the various council committees.
“Every council is different,” Sanders said. “They all come in and have their own ideas about how things should work and how they want to make a difference. Then they discover there are some things they have to adjust to, including public criticism that can be harsh and disrespectful. I try to be here for them to make sure that they are respected and supported in here.”
Some of the clerk’s duties include:
- Processing ordinances, resolutions and all related documents
- Publishing agendas for public meetings and the current dockets (The meetings can be watched live on Channel 2, the City’s government channel that is available to local cable subscribers or online. The video of each meeting is archived so that they can be viewed online at any time using the video on demand system.)
- Keeping archives of all ordinances and resolutions so residents and others can track the progress of ordinances and resolutions through the legislative process
- Housing information on the City Charter, the semi-annual docket and the election calendar
- Keeping records of all boards and commissions, plus the membership list for each of those groups, as well as a schedule of upcoming meetings
No question that Sanders and company provide an essential service to KCMO residents and elected leaders. But she maintains that it’s often the small, subtle things that have the greatest impact.
“I feel like we’re the front door to the Council,” Sanders said. “Many times a member of the public will have a question and they may start the conversation feeling frustrated about the process. So if we can answer their question and mainly just listen to them, then hopefully, they’re less stressed than when they started.”
For more information on the City Clerk’s Office, check out kcmo.gov/city-clerks-office or call 816-513-3360.
Sign up for meeting notices at kcmo.gov/subscribe.
Looking for information on a specific ordinance? Visit kcmo.gov/clerk.