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A town clerk is a senior employee of a city, borough, or town administration.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdommarker, the Town Clerk is the senior administrative officer of the city, borough or town, usually the most senior salaried employee of the council. In most unitary authorities the Town Clerk has now been renamed the Chief Executive, although the original name is retained in most smaller towns. The Town Clerks of the larger county boroughs frequently received knighthoods, and the Chief Executives of large authorities sometimes still do. The equivalent officer in counties and districts was the Clerk to the Council (now also designated Chief Executive) and in parishes is the Parish Clerk, usually an unsalaried part-time volunteer whose main responsibility is the administration and minuting of parish council meetings.

On ceremonial occasions, the Town Clerk wears a gown of black silk ottoman/grosgrain of the lay pattern with panel sleeves and a flap collar. The gown is trimmed with rows of braid and tassels. This gown is similar to the gown of undergraduate Fellow and Gentleman-Commoners in the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Town Clerk also wears a wig similar to that of barristers.

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker, for over a century, the chief administrative officer of a city or borough was also legally designated the Town Clerk. This continued until the 1970s, when the city and county administrative procedures were largely merged and the Local Government Act 1974 declared that every such person (along with his or her rural counterpart, the county clerk) should henceforth be styled the "Chief Administrative Officer".


In Massachusettsmarker, the Town Clerk is the chief election official of a town and the keeper of permanent and vital records. The duties of Town Clerks vary slightly in each community. Massachusetts clerks who have been in office five or more years may be elected by special ballot initiative to a lifetime term with mandatory retirement at age 70, after which they may remain in office if they run for successive terms.

See also


  1. Michaels Civic Robes

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