Letter from the President

A Message from President Barbara Van Clake WCPC/MMC

Hello Wisconsin Clerks,

I spent my 4th of July holiday volunteering at our community celebration events. Nothing says summer here in my City of Omro than the running of the Quacker 500 duck race, when more than 2000 little yellow rubber ducks float towards the finish line within the park channel of the Fox River. Once again, my ducks ticket number did not float to winning glory, but watching the excitement of the onlookers on a beautiful summer day reminded me that my year serving as your WMCA President is drawing to a close.

I think that my favorite part of being President this year was experiencing the privilege of representing our great organization at the other state conferences, and especially at the IIMC conference held here in our own great state of Wisconsin in the City of Milwaukee. That was a unique opportunity that not many of our Presidents will get to experience, and I feel extremely fortunate having done so. The networking and learning from other conferences and their leaders, has initiated many new ideas and discussions on how we can improve our own organization and keep us relevant to our members needs as time, legislative changes and technology evolve.

Mainly the time goes by so quickly because all of the members of the various boards and committees that help keep our organization running smoothly stay so busy; working hard in order to continue to bring our members the best possible educational opportunities at both the district level and conferences. We are very proud of WMCA’s close collaboration with UW Green Bay’s Outreach and Extension program that offers the annual Clerks and Treasurers Institute as well as more advanced level courses that helps us facilitate our jobs in a professional and exemplary manner.

The annual meeting at the conference in Rothschild will culminate in presenting a few resolutions to help the organization to continue with our strategic plan goals to keep us moving forward in meeting the needs of our members and doing so in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The use of media technology and meeting software for teleconferencing, online meetings, and other brain storming opportunities by both the Board of Directors and the various committees, will help us facilitate meetings without the added costs of travel, hotels, meeting space rent, providing of lunch to participants, and especially not having to spend so much time out of the office. I can see the use of technology allowing some committees to function and excel at their tasks without ever having to travel out of the office to participate. It is our hope that decreasing the time and travel commitment for becoming more engaged in WMCA will increase the number of members that are willing to volunteer their valuable time and energy.

In an effort to increase participation on the Board, we would like to see a constitutional change to the number of Board meetings from six per year, back to four per year that was initially required. This will decrease the commitment of time for the members to be out of their offices, keep us on task with the agenda, and promote efficiency and best use of time practices at our face to face meeting times.

Additionally, the Board will be bringing another resolution for your consideration to remove the constitutional requirement of officers being automatically appointed to certain committees. This will open up more opportunity for committee participation to the general members, enhance more diversity and new ideas on those committees, and most importantly, to increase the potential of those new members to consider advancement to officer positions in the future.

Another resolution coming forward at the annual conference meeting is the request for a name and purpose change for the Audit Committee. This name gives the impression that this committee is completing an actual financial audit of the association books. This is simply not the case. The Finance Committee will review the financial revenues and expenses, perform budget preparation, develop investment and financial policies and procedures, and help facilitate the annual 990 IRS filings required. If we want to have an actual audit performed we would need to hire a CPA firm that specializes in association financials. The committee would like to see the constitutional name and purpose change to Finance Committee going forward.

In previous meetings of the Board of Directors we discussed the skills and qualifications for members considering running for a higher office. When nominations are taken from the floor, are we getting board members that truly want to serve, have put the thought and preparation into what the duties actually entail, and lastly, do they meet the qualifications for the position. Following the application process and receiving approval and support from their municipality are important factors. The current constitution specifies that nominations are allowed from the floor. The board voted to bring forward a resolution eliminating nominations from the floor for officer positions. The Board would fill vacant positions at the next Board of Directors meeting from those that are interested in applying for the appointment.
These are just of few of the items that will be available for discussion and voting at the annual meeting. Speaking of conferences, I am looking forward to seeing you at the annual WMCA conference in August at the Patriot Center in Rothschild. It is not too late to register. It is more important than ever for municipal clerks to receive high caliber training to help them professionally and efficiently facilitate their core duties, and even more important that they continually educate themselves in this time of unprecedented legislative changes affecting municipal government operations.

Our annual conference is the ideal platform for newly elected and continuing clerks to attain or enhance their knowledge and skills to meet the ever changing needs of your community. In addition to the conference days, there is always a full day of Pre-Conference Classes. Our conference not only provides the opportunity for you to network and learn from other clerks, but to attend excellent classes from accredited instructors.

Many of the instructors are academic or business professionals in their fields and some of the classes are taught directly by professional clerks from around our state that have proven themselves knowledgeable leaders on particular topics or skills. All of the WMCA conference classes meet or exceed the educational criteria requirements of the highly acclaimed International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Attending the conference training sessions may lead to international accreditation acknowledgement as a Certified Municipal Clerk, or further, to the status of Master Municipal Clerk. The Wisconsin Municipal Clerk’s Association also offers accreditation levels of Wisconsin Certified Municipal Clerk or Wisconsin Certified Professional Clerk.

The Pre-Conference Classes offer a full day of training for newly appointed or elected clerks. This New Clerk’s Class is taught by seasoned clerks from a City, Village and Town, as well as a Municipal Attorney. This year there is also an Athenian Leadership Class and a Master Academy Course offered through UWGB Extension and Outreach which is taught by a UW-Whitewater Professor. The conference itself is jam packed with ten valuable education sessions on various topics and skills instrumental to a clerk’s duties. These education sessions run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 8:00 am to 11:30 am on Friday.

Join us on Thursday night for the annual awards banquet. The night will start with mountain music by the talented string instrument and fiddle players of “Dead Horses”. Dinner will be followed by the swearing in of the new President and other officers. It is at that time that I will turn over the reins to your new President elect Karen Weinschrott.

You are going to be in very good hands with Karen. She is a true leader who will continue to work with the best interest of WMCA in mind. Thank you everyone for allowing me to serve in this position. Being a leader in a time of change can be difficult, but also be very rewarding in that it challenges you to do more than you think you are capable of. Please enjoy the rest of the summer and accept my wishes for you and your family to enjoy health, joy, and prosperity.  

Barbara Van Clake, MMC, WCPC

Clerk / Deputy Treasurer
City of Omro, Population 3528
205 S. Webster Avenue
P.O. Box 399
Omro, WI 54963
(920) 685-7000 phone
(920) 685-7011 fax
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