Donna Flowers, longtime clerk for the city of Lincolnton, recently achieved a new level of certification after completing years of training.
Flowers, who has been employed with the city since 1986, has earned the designation of “Master Municipal Clerk (MMC),” awarded by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), Inc.
“IIMC grants the MMC designation only to those municipal clerks who complete demanding education requirements and who have a record of significant contributions to their local government, their community and state,” Brenda Cirtin, president of the IIMC, said in a release regarding the certification.
Founded in 1947, the IIMC, a nonprofit organization, has more than 10,000 members worldwide, with a mission to enhance the education opportunities and professional development of its members.
“In light of the speed and drastic nature of change these days, lifelong learning is not only desirable, it is necessary for all in local government to keep pace with growing demands and changing needs of the citizens we serve,” Cirtin added. “Your city can take immense pride in Donna’s educational accomplishments and achievement of this milestone.”
Flowers, who considers herself more of a “behind-the-scenes” person, said she was honored to receive the designation, something that has resulted from plenty of hard work.
She took part in continuing education over the past eight years at the UNC School of Government, the North Carolina Municipal Clerks Association and the IIMC, eventually able to obtain the necessary educational credit hours to apply for the MMC certification.
Four levels must be achieved prior to becoming eligible for the designation, with one- to four-year study periods between entry levels, she said.
Earlier this year, Flowers was appointed to the board of directors for the N.C. Association of Municipal Clerks, which she said contributed to her recent honor.
“I accepted the nomination for director of District XI, representing cities within Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, McDowell and Rutherford counties,” she said. “I am honored and privileged to serve in this capacity and to represent the city of Lincolnton.”
Flowers, though not one to relish the spotlight, is proud of her accomplishments, and rightfully so. She is also quick to show her appreciation for others.
“While my desire to further my education and grow in my profession has been a personal goal, it would not have been possible without the support of the city manager, elected officials and my family,” she said. “As Lincolnton City Clerk, I strive to be ever mindful of my neutrality and impartiality, rendering equal service to all and to extend the same treatment I wish to receive, myself, to others.”
What exactly it is that city clerks do is typically misunderstood, or overlooked, with Flowers noting that she often fields questions on the subject.
In fact, the job originated thousands of years ago, and Flowers’ ability to detail its history is a testament to her passion for her work.
“The municipal clerk is the oldest of public servants in local government, and, along with the tax collector, the profession traces back before Biblical times,” according to information Flowers shared from the N.C. Association of Municipal Clerks’ website. “Then and now, the city clerk’s office serves as a direct link between citizens of the community and their government. The city clerk is the custodian of official public records; communicator of public policy; organizer of public business; recorder of the community’s history; (and) performer of many varied tasks that assist in the smooth operation of local governance.”
She also quoted from one of the first-ever textbooks published on administration, which describes the various contacts and loose ends within city administration that a clerk will deal with on a regular basis.
From it, Flowers referenced professor William Bennett Munro, who stated in 1934 that the work of a city clerk is “not spectacular, but it demands versatility, alertness, accuracy and no end of patience.”