City of Troy
Aileen’s career in municipal government began in 2001 as a Records Clerk in the Troy Police Department, before she moved to the City Clerk’s Office in 2002. In 2011, Aileen was appointed City Clerk. As City Clerk, Aileen is known for improving processes and developing new ones to improve public service. For example, she developed and implemented a "Do Not Knock Registry" as part of Troy's Solicitation ordinance. This popular service allows residents to register their addresses on a list that is provided to solicitors upon receiving their Peddler's Permit. The list is maintained by the City Clerk's Office and residents have the option of obtaining Do Not Knock window clings to display on their front doors. This program has since been emulated by clerks in several other communities.
In 2019, Dickson implemented a new electronic agenda process. This new process eliminated the required hard copies of cover memos, back-up materials and resolutions and was critical in allowing City staff to work remotely during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, Ms. Dickson hosted four “drive-thru” events in October, leading up to the Presidential Election. These full-service events allowed residents to safely register to vote, request absentee ballots and receive information from the Clerk’s Office.
Aileen holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Oakland University. She received her MMC in 2016 and is currently a MiPMC Level 2. She is a member of IIMC and MAMC. Ms. Dickson has been a member of the Oakland County Clerk’s Association since 2009 and has served as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President. She has been a member of OCCA Legislative Committee since 2016.
Aileen is a respected City Clerk, both in her community and throughout Michigan. Ms. Dickson speaks to students about what it means to be a Clerk, and has implemented REV-up Troy (Register, Educate, Vote), a program that seeks to register and engage young people in voting and working elections. Aileen also works with the League of Women Voters (LWV) to welcome new United States citizens at the Troy Family Daze New Citizen Oath Ceremony. She has also been called on to testify in the Michigan Legislature regarding election bills. Her administration of the November 2020 election earned her high praise from the Troy City Council and other community leaders.
Aileen describes her work as city clerk as her dream job. “Being city clerk is my dream job that I don’t just work at, I live it,” she stated.
City of Otsego
Angela’s career in municipal government began in 1993 as an Accounts Receivable Clerk for the City of Otsego. She accepted the appointment of City Clerk in 2003, but has also served as Accounts Receivable Clerk, Deputy Clerk, Utility Billing Clerk, Interim Main Street Manager, and Interim City Manager during her tenure in Otsego. She is a member of the Allegan County Clerk’s Association, West Michigan Clerk’s Association, Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks Association, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Otsego Main Street, and Otsego Public Schools.
Angela has earned her Master Municipal Clerk Certification (MMC) from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and her Michigan Professional Municipal Clerk Level II (MiPMC2) from the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.
Throughout her career, Ms. Cronen she has seen many changes but feels this is what she loves about her job and has adapted to the changes by attending as much training as possible and even assists the Allegan County Clerk with training her fellow Clerks. She strives to serve her community in a professional and educated manner while being a role model for new clerks.
In her current position as Clerk, she takes her job very seriously and feels it is her duty to “watch over the City”. Being a Clerk is not an eight to five job and she takes this to heart. Ms. Cronen always makes herself accessible to the citizens, City Commission, and fellow employees. She has made it a priority to keep everyone informed in her community through Facebook, the City website, newsletter, and day to day interactions with the public.
She feels teamwork and unity are important, whether it be in the office or during an election. Being a united team, in turn is beneficial to the citizens, voters, and customers. Angela works with the Allegan County Clerk to prepare and facilitate extra training for clerks in specific areas (i.e. closing the polls, Election Day checklists, AVCB, mock elections).
City Manager Aaron Mitchell said of Clerk Cronen: There is no better Clerk in the State of Michigan than the City of Otsego’s very own Angie Cronen. She is the epitome of what a Municipal Clerks should be. She was able to thrive during the 2020 shutdowns and changes, leading her community by staying up to date on what was and was not allowed. Her elections were well run and she was still able to help her mentor her neighboring township’s clerk during these tough times and volunteer to fill in for the recently departed Main Street Manager.
City of Gibraltar
Cynthia’s career in municipal government began in 1995 as City Clerk for the City of Gibraltar. She is a member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks Association, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, and Wayne County Clerks Association. Cynthia earned her Certified Municipal Clerk Certification (CMC) from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2004 and served as Treasurer of the Wayne County Clerks Association from 2001-2003.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lehr has been involved in many activities including but not limited to coaching softball, helping with booster clubs, member of the Gibraltar Rotary Club, working on fundraisers, member of the Parent Teacher Organization, and helping with the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts. She organized “Let’s Build a Playground” to renovate and assemble a new playscape. She is responsible for implementing the annual “City Shred Day” and was a member of the building committee when the City sought to build a new municipal building.
As Clerk Ms. Lehr quickly became the City’s problem solver. Her most memorable moments included compiling a tax return for an elderly resident who was in fear of losing her home. She investigated her concern and assisted in getting the past three years of property taxes returned.
Cynthia counts the City Clerks from the surrounding areas as good friends and her support group and takes the time to reach out to new Clerks and offer her knowledge and assistance. She advises any new Clerks to attend every training opportunity you can- “You will always walk away having gained new knowledge in our chosen profession and you get to network with the Clerk’s throughout the State.”
Mayor James Gorris said of Clerk Lehr: Cynthia is a dedicated Municipal Clerk who unselfishly serves the City of Gibraltar, its leaders and its residents with extreme professionalism and compassion. She is a lifelong resident with contributions too numerous to mention in this letter. With her 25 years of experience, she is the “go-to” person at City Hall for the Mayor, City Staff, and all resident for information and assistance with any and all City government matters.
City of Romulus
Ellen began her career in public service in 2005 when she was elected to City Council for the City of Romulus, while she worked for Romulus Community School (1997 – 2009). She was only the second African American to hold the office since 1975. In 2009, she was elected City Clerk and continues to serve the residents of Romulus with passion and conviction.
Ellen has had many accomplishments in her 12 years as a City Clerk to improve community relations, streamline processes, increase efficiencies and transparency. She created a “TEAM” concept work environment and was able to rebuild the Clerk’s office after major budget cuts, reducing the overall budget by 24%. Ellen has worked to Codify City Ordinances and Charter using Municode; re-established the Romulus Charter Review Committee; implemented the BS&A Business License Software; and implemented a new software to create electronic Council packets.
In Elections, Ellen has consolidated precincts from 18 to 12; implemented EPB, including dual EPB; overhauled election inspector training, created a comprehensive handbook; implemented Public Service Announcements to educate voters; holds mock election demonstrations for Middle and Elementary school students; created a newsletter with voter information and updates; and frequently visits with senior citizens to assist with the AV process.
Ellen has also established a Cemetery Board of Trustees, Cemetery Ordinance, and Cemetery Rules & Regulations pamphlet. She implemented the Pontem Software to manage cemetery records and online burial searches. Ellen worked with “Wreaths Across America” which provided wreaths to place on the graves of veterans in the Romulus cemetery, and they also raised $1500 to donated to a disabled veteran and his family. She also assisted the Cemetery Board of Trustees with fundraising to purchase trees and three Victorian gates for the cemetery.
Ellen’s accomplishments are enhanced by her drive to always make it a priority to be involved in local and community activities and affiliate with local, county, and state organizations that address community improvement and social causes. She volunteers on the Romulus Drug Task Force, Dr. Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration, Chamber of Commerce, Art’s Council, Pumpkin Festival Committee, and she is the Director of Music for the Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Ellen is a member of the Association of Wayne County Clerks, Wayne County Executive Urban Alliance of Michigan Task Force, MML, Michigan Black Caucus, MAMC, IIMC, and Michigan Association of Municipal Cemeteries. She holds her MiPMC and CMC credentials and believes there is and always will be room for improvement.
Ellen has been married to Stanley for 34 years, she is a mother of three, and grandmother of four. She lives life to the fullest and appreciates the support and encouragement of her mentors, colleagues, and family. She is deeply honored to have been nominated for this prestigious award.
City of Coldwater
Susan Heath has served in public life for twenty-five years. Prior to her current role as the Coldwater City Clerk, a position she has held for nine years, Susan began her career as Deputy Clerk in Chesaning in early 1996. She was then elected to Chesaning Township Clerk in November 1996.
Susan was nominated by both her Mayor and her deputy clerk. Sue was described by her deputy clerk, Shauna Chavez, “She has the makeup of a true leader. She is caring and respectful always demonstrating humor, honesty, integrity and empathy. Sue's hard work and resiliency is what makes her the City of Coldwater's choice for Clerk of the year.”
Ms. Heath is an active member of MAMC and IIMC. She has earned her CMC in 2014 and her MiPMC in 2015. She holds an associate degree from Baker College in Business Administration. She has been active in both Saginaw and Branch County Clerks Associations.
Sue’s early work in clerking focused on many modernization projects; it was her leadership that moved Chesaning Township onto the first rollout of QVF in 1997. While Chesaning Township Clerk, Susan helped the township join the Mid-Michigan Waste Authority, serving as its chair in her last year. Sue also digitized the Township’s cemetery records and her final legacy, before moving on to Coldwater, was the implementation of a township website.
Ms. Heath has continued her innovative work and projects in Coldwater, including a project to digitize the City’s records from the early 1900s. Looking forward to her eventual retirement, Sue convinced the City Manager to allow her to appoint another city staff person to deputy clerk in a mentorship program, ensuring a succession plan for the future.
Susan states that she is a firm believer that one should always look at obstacles as opportunities for growth, education and improvement. She often tells her deputy, "anything you do wrong is just another opportunity to learn and get it right going forward." Her city manager describes Ms. Heath’s greatest quality as her positive attitude and willingness to assist her coworkers in whatever capacity necessary.
Township Clerk of the Year Nominees
Michael is the Canton Township Clerk, first elected in 2016. His credentials include MiMPC (MAMC) and CMC (IIMC). He also holds an MBA. Michael was nominated by four different individuals!
While “young” in the profession, Michael has been very active in his community having served on the Canton Public Library Board (elected 2008) and the Plymouth Canton Community School Board of Education (elected 2014). Michael serves as the Treasurer for the Association of Wayne County Clerks, a voting member of the MAMC Legislative Committee, and was recently appointed to the MAMC Board of Directors.
Michael has a very diverse voter population and has worked to ensure Canton Township precincts are staffed with multilingual inspectors to appropriately assist this diverse population. After the passage of Proposal 3 in 2018 he worked diligently to educate his voters of their new rights and expanded the permanent absentee voter application list from 8,200 voters to 35,000 voters.
As Michael stated, “I love election administration. I love accessible government that is relevant to he needs and demands of the general public. It is true public service and a sacred honor. It is this philosophy that drives my initiative and desire to work in this field.”
Village Clerk of the Year Nominees
Village of Romeo
Kathryn possesses extensive knowledge and experience in local government, beginning with her years as a student at Oakland University. In addition to earning a Political Science degree, she performed internships with the 10th Congressional District Congressman and the Oakland County Finance Department. She also served three and a half years with Oakland University’s student government organization, known as Student Congress.
Kathryn began her professional career in this area as Staff Assistant for the Ray Township Office in October of 2015. During this time she assisted Township officials with a wide variety of tasks, including issuance of trade permits; acceptance of building applications and site plans; co-creation of the Township website; publication and distribution of the Ray Township quarterly newsletter; and research of assessment and tax applications. She became familiar with both PONTEM and BS&A Software. Kathryn also served on the Village of Romeo Planning Commission from 2015-2018. All of these duties helped prepare her for her role as Clerk.
Kathryn was elected Romeo Village Clerk in November of 2018. Her many responsibilities include serving as website, FOIA and Human Resources coordinator; Sexton for the Village of Romeo Cemetery and Administrator for the Cemetery Board; recording secretary for the Board of Trustees, including coordination of board packets; and Community Development Block Grant Coordinator. Additionally, Kathryn continues to assist with the Planning and Zoning and Building Departments.
Kathryn began her tenure as Clerk by securing needed resources for the office. She facilitated the creation of email addresses, phone lines and voice mail boxes for all staff members, as well as an upgrade to the Village’s server. She was also instrumental in updating the Village’s software to BS&A modules in order to streamline the Cash Receipting system. Other achievements include initiating the update of the Village’s 12-year-old Master Plan, which she believes has helped renew interest in the community, and continued update of Village Ordinances. Kathryn is also credited with the creation of a Village Facebook page to keep residents engaged, and digitization of cemetery records. Kathryn continues to educate herself in all areas of the municipality in order to serve the community and its residents to the highest degree possible. Kathryn believes the Village of Romeo has seen a great growth in recent years, and is proud to be a part of this progress.
Kathryn was nominated by Romeo Village President Christine Malzahn.
Deputy Clerk of the Year Nominees
Bath Charter Township
Brenda Butler-Challender, Deputy Clerk of Bath Charter Township, was appointed to her position in 2010. She is a MAMC member and currently working on obtaining her CMC designation.
Nominated by her Superintendent, Karen Hildebrant, she states, “Brenda can always be counted on to step up and accomplish any task that is asked of her. She is always searching for new and more efficient ways of completing her work… She is a rare treasure both as a person and as an employee. Her kind heart and determination couple to make her a model Deputy Clerk, and perhaps someday our Clerk. Our Township would not have been able to survive without Brenda’s tenacity and perseverance“.
Hildebrant’s nomination referenced the way that Brenda stepped in and assumed many of the Clerk duties during the Clerk’s unexpected long-term medical absence after 45 years of service. She had to adapt quickly and take on many additional new responsibilities. In anticipation of higher voter turnout, Brenda quickly identified a need for updated election computers to manage the expected record turnout. She then took the older laptops, networked them and added an additional station in each voting precinct to strictly process absentee ballots to ensure the voting line was efficient and results were reported in a timely manner.
Brenda developed new training manuals for the e-poll book, and the county even began using her instructions. She also manages the Township’s accounts payables; maintains the rental facility calendars for both the parks and Township buildings; works with the auditors on collating and assembling required paperwork; office inventory; manages the burn permit program; invoices for services rendered; conducts utility billing; and creates and maintains quarterly sewer bills. Brenda expanded the use of ACH payments by setting residents up with e-billing in lieu of paper statements. She also assists with cemetery operations, and updating the Township website to improve communication with the residents. She often trains new employees and created the Township’s Instructions for Operations, which has helped to ensure there is consistency throughout the office.
Additionally, Brenda expanded and streamlined the Township’s annual “Tom King Memorial Junk Day,” which allows residents to dispose of their unwanted treasures at no cost. She organizes the entire event by handling the marketing, arranging the vendors, and balancing the associated costs. Brenda has saved the township money by significantly improving the time efficiencies to process the residents. She also took over human resources, benefits, payroll, W-2’s and retirement plans.
Ms. Butler-Challender states, “…I have always strived to improve, modernize, and update the programs, processes, and applications of the Township… I have always focused on efficiency, helping others, and expanding knowledge to the community… I became the go-to person when others had questions or needed help… Many processes that the Clerk has done for years were not passed down to anyone, so when her illness took hold, I had to quickly figure out and self-teach how to do many aspects of her job that had not been previously shared. I have been able to learn these responsibilities and compose instructions for operations so that this situation does not occur in the future.”
Village of Lexington
Vicki Scott, Deputy Clerk of the Village of Lexington, was nominated by her Clerk, Beth Grohman, for her continued support, eagerness to learn, and commitment to superior customer service skills.
Ms. Scott has served as the Deputy Clerk since 2016. She began her employment with the Village as an administrative assistant/utility billing clerk in 2015. She brought extensive billing experience to the Village having conducted utility billing for Lexington Worth Township Utilities Authority for a period of 15 years until it was later dissolved.
In her current position, Vicki continues to conduct utility billing for the Village as well as a neighboring township that contracts services with the Village. She also handles rent collection for the community’s mobile home park. Vicki serves as the recording secretary for Downtown Development Authority, as well as drafts the agendas and minutes.
Vicki is a member of MAMC, IIMC, and the Eagles. She is actively working towards completing her third year of basic institute and she enjoys training with her Clerk to continue to learn new processes and procedures.
Clerk Beth Grohman states, “Vicki is always willing to step in and help whenever she is needed. She goes above and beyond to help others. She loves learning new things and takes great pride in her work and strives to do her best … Vicki is the bright spot to our office and has a very infectious laugh that can actually be heard throughout the building. She certainly is a joy to work with.”
Grohman goes on to say that Vicki has exceptional communication skills because she has a knack for dealing with challenging circumstances while remaining calm and respectful. Additionally, she takes the time to provide detailed explanations. Vicki is admired for expecting respect in return when she works through difficult situations.
Ms. Scott has taken on many new responsibilities to support her Clerk and lighten some of her work load. She assists in maintaining the website, training summer time staff members, record keeping, handling counsel requests, and managing FOIA requests. Vicki proudly proclaims she feels she has excelled in the last 5 years learning more about minute taking responsibilities, the open meetings act, and closed session requirements. Through her commitment to learn new tasks and take on new responsibilities, she feels confident acting in the Clerk’s absence.
Vicki states, “As the first face people see when they come in the door, I represent the Village with a professional attitude in handling any and all customer requests.”