The Clerk of the Year program is designed to honor municipal clerks who demonstrate the professional and personal qualities representing the best of our profession.
We honor four categories - City, Township, Village and Deputy Clerk based on the following criteria:
- Years of experience as a municipal clerk;
- Demonstrated greater-than-average performance in the position;
- Active in county, state and national associations;
- Demonstrated interest in improving their professional and personal skills, and in the advancement of the profession;
- A record of contributing to the improvement of their community and the respect of community leaders.
Nominations can be made by City and Village Managers, Township Supervisors, Mayors, Board Presidents, fellow Clerks and other municipal officials.
The Clerk of the Year award ceremony is held annually at the MAMC summer conference.
2022 CITY CLERK OF THE YEAR
Aileen Dickson, City of Troy (Oakland County)
Aileen Dickson’s career in municipal government began in 2001 as a Records Clerk in the Troy Police Department before moving 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 enhance 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. Residents have the option of obtaining "Do Not Knock" window clings to display on their front doors. Clerks in several other communities have since emulated this program.
In 2019, Dickson implemented a new electronic agenda process. This new process eliminated the required hard copies of cover memos, backup 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, apply as an election inspector, and receive election information from the Clerk's Office. She also implemented TrackMIBallot postal tracking services for absentee ballots.
Ms. Dickson holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Oakland University. She earned her MMC in 2016 and her MiPMC, Level 2 in 2020.
Aileen is an active member of the Michigan Association of Michigan Clerks (MAMC) and International Association of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) and has been a member of the Oakland County Clerk's Association (OCCA) since 2009 and has served as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and Immediate Past President. She has also been a member of the OCCA Legislative Committee since 2016.
Aileen is a respected City Clerk, both in her community and throughout Michigan. She makes herself available as a resource for new clerks and peers facing challenges she has experience with and best field practices.
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 the City Clerk as her dream job. She states, "Being City Clerk is my dream job that I don't just work at, I live it."
Kelli Vandenberg City of Wyoming (Kent County)
Kelli VandenBerg began her career in municipal government in February of 1998 as an events coordinator through an internship program for the City Manager's Office in the City of Wyoming. She was introduced to the clerking world in 2002 when she joined the Clerk's Office as a secretary. In addition to working in both the City Manager and City Clerk offices, Kelli worked in the Human Resources and Planning & Community Development departments during her career in Wyoming. She returned to the Clerk's Office as the Senior Deputy Clerk in 2014 until she was appointed the City Clerk in 2015. Ms. VandenBerg states that her experiences working in the various departments has enhanced her ability to serve as the City Clerk.
Since becoming a clerk, Kelli has introduced a new business licensing software to the office that offers expanded payment options, a more user-friendly experience, and better reporting capabilities for tracking business licenses. She has approached her duties as a clerk with a keen sense of optimism and adaptability, especially under political and global circumstances.
Ms. VandenBerg was able to re-imagine her election processes during the height of the global pandemic. In May of 2020, Kelli administered her city’s special election entirely by absentee ballot. She transformed the City Hall parking lot into a full-service drive-thru precinct. The concept proved popular and was expanded and improved for the August and November 2020 elections. She recruited election workers and city employees and formed a team to monitor the parking lot, managing same-day voter registration and the issuance of absentee ballots. The curbside voting model was extremely popular with voters.
During the 2020 election cycle, Kelli trained more than 200 election workers. She coordinated with the City's communication team and created training videos for the August and November elections to facilitate remote training during the pandemic. The workers could log on and watch the training videos at their convenience. Workers who did not have access to the videos could gather in small groups and watch in the council chambers. Online assessments were required to confirm participation.
Kelli has been proactive in including members of the city council and department heads in the election process, which in turn created additional advocates for her department and the election process. During the 2021 November General Election, Kelli invited her State Representative to tour a precinct and walked them through the entire voting experience.
Kelli holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University. She holds both the CMC and MiPMC designations.
Kelli is an active member of MAMC, IIMC, and the Kent County Clerk's Association (KCCA), where she served as Vice President in 2016 and as President in 2017. Kelli is also a West Regional Clerk's Association member and currently serves as a Trustee.
Transparency and inclusion are the lenses Kelli uses to educate the public on the duties and responsibilities of the Clerk's office. She states, "My hope is that by demonstrating what we do and how we do it, can also show we are professionals who can offer valuable insight in the area in which we serve."
2022 TOWNSHIP CLERK OF THE YEAR
Robin Hawthorn – Rutland Township (Barry County)
The Rutland Charter Township Clerk for 18 years, Robin also sits on the Joint Planning Commission with the City of Hastings. Robin is a member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks for 18 years and is a regular attendee at both the annual conference and Free Education Day. Very active in her local clerk's association, she has served as the President, Secretary, and Treasurer for the Barry County Clerks Association.
Robin has been very engaged as Clerk helping establish an Urban Services Agreement with the City of Hastings for economic development, as well as the Joint Planning Commission, and the Sewer agreement with the city. The role of the clerk and how elections work is also a focus with local schools.
Debbie Miller – Rose Township (Oakland County)
A veteran of four Presidential election cycles (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020), Debbie has earned certification as a Master Municipal Clerk by the IIMC, and her MiPMC level II from the MAMC. She was elected in 2008, after years of service in the private sector as a Project Manager and earning her MBA.
Debbie currently serves on the Oakland County Clerk’s Association Legislative Committee. She was appointed to the Oakland County Safe and Healthy Elections Task Force for the 2020 election. She has served on the MAMC Legislative Committee in the past. Outside of the typical role of clerk, she also acts as Human Resource Manager, Cemetery Board Administrator, and website and social media manager for Rose Township. Debbie implemented a migration to BS&A software, and is currently working on re-vamping the existing employee handbook.
She pushed for transparency and accessibility for residents by initiating the recording and posting of all township meetings on PEG channel and digitally on YouTube. In this spirit, Debbie conducts combination voter registration drives and mock elections at Holly High School. She works to recruit these students, along with college students to work with middle aged and senior inspectors for election day.
Linda Reilly – Lyndon Township (Washtenaw County)
Linda started her clerking journey in 2001 as the Deputy Clerk for Lyndon Township and was soon the Township Clerk in 2002. A member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks and the Washtenaw County Clerks Association, Linda is also active with the Chelsea Area Fire Authority, the Multi Lakes Sewer & Water Authority, and the Michigan Farm Bureau.
Linda was integral in the design and placement of a camera system for the township hall. Additionally, she works with middle school students to educate them on the importance of elections and to have them experience a mock election. She works to stay abreast of changes in election law and procedures through classes offered by the Bureau of Elections. She was nominated by two separate people!
2022 DEPUTY CLERK OF THE YEAR
Stephen Gerhart – City of Ann Arbor (Washtenaw County)
Stephen Gerhart Jr, Chief Deputy City Clerk of the City of Ann Arbor, was appointed to his current position in 2018. Mr. Gerhart previously served as an Administrative Assistant for the City of Dearborn Clerk’s Office from 2011 until 2014. He was then appointed as the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Grosse Pointe Woods in 2014, where he remained until he transitioned to Ann Arbor. Stephen is an active member of the Washtenaw County Municipal and Township Clerks Association, MAMC, and IIMC. Stephen recently completed the MAMC Institute and now holds both the MiPMC and CMC designations.
Nominated by Ann Arbor City Clerk, Jacqueline Beaudry, she stated, “Steve is a valuable resource to all team members in the clerk’s office and I feel confident leaving this office under his direction at any time…Steve has embraced his new duties and is always eager to take on more work and learn new things... Steve is well respected by City leadership and is a resource in City Hall...”
Mr. Gerhart stated he received his first introduction to the Clerk profession when he was in high school when he served as an election inspector for the City of Dearborn Heights. He quickly moved up to chairing precincts and was later hired as a seasonal worker to assist with preparing absentee ballots and precinct supplies. Stephen stated, “It was during that time that I discovered my passion for elections and determined that I wanted to pursue a career in the field of Election Administration.”
In order to achieve that goal, Stephen obtained a Bachelor of Public Affairs, a Master of Public Administration, and a Graduate Certificate in Economic and Community Development from Wayne State University.
Stephen had the pleasure to serve on the State’s Form’s Committee working to redesign election materials. He also participated in the State’s Absentee Ballot Lean Process Improvement Group with the purpose to identify inefficiencies, streamline procedures, and determine best practices. Stephen also had the honor of teaching a “Best Practices for Absentee Count Boards” virtual class at the 2020 MAMC conference.
Chief Deputy Clerk Gerhart has earned many accomplishments in his career and some of his proudest projects include: the City of Ann Arbor Clerk’s Office receiving two Clearie Awards from the U. S. Election Assistance Commission. The first award was received in 2019 for Outstanding Innovation in Election Administration for creating a process that allows voters to check their current estimated wait time in the precinct from the City website. The second award was earned in 2020 for Creative and Original “I Voted Sticker”. Stephen also worked diligently with their IT Dept. to implement an email notification system in which voters are alerted when their ballot has been mailed to them and when the City has received the ballot back. The email confirmation includes a link to a social media ready digital “I Voted Sticker” which is available in a multitude of styles as well as being provided in the seven most frequently spoken foreign languages within the community. His most recent collaboration included the digitalization of the licensing process, which now allows residents to apply for all the various licenses and permits online.
Mr. Gerhart states, “I have exhibited above average performance in the Clerk’s profession by constantly striving to improve our profession for both those in the profession as well as our stake holders by constantly looking to innovate and partner with various groups to achieve results….Through these partnerships we have taken ideas that we have implemented in the City of Ann Arbor, and been able to export them to other jurisdictions, as well. My time with the City of Ann Arbor has been one, where thanks to a wonderful team and collaborative environment, we have made great strides in modernizing our processes and have brought an added sense of trust and security in the process to our residents.”
Lynn Henry – Grand Blanc Township (Genesee County)
Lynn Henry, Deputy Clerk of Grand Blanc Township, was nominated by her Clerk, David Robertson, for her depth of knowledge in elections, record keeping procedures, retention schedules, and public notification requirements. Ms. Henry is recognized as a leader among their Administrative staff. Clerk Robertson stated, “I believe she is entirely deserving of this award…My respect and admiration for Lynn Henry is limitless…I am extremely fortunate to have Lynn Henry as my Deputy Clerk. I’m not sure what I would do without her. Her knowledge of election law and proper execution of elections is unparalleled. I believe the MAMC could make no better selection than that of Lynn Henry for the MAMC (Deputy) Clerk of the Year Award for 202(2).”
Ms. Henry began her municipal experience as the part-time Assistant to the Clerk in the City of Linden in July 2012. After three days of work, she became full-time and the Deputy Clerk. By September of that same year, Lynn became the City Clerk. In 2018, she became the Deputy Clerk at Grand Blanc Township. Ms. Henry was excited for the challenge of handling 33,000 registered voters because she wanted to prove to herself that she could successfully manage such a large jurisdiction. After three years of serving as the Deputy Clerk in Grand Blanc Township, Ms. Henry sought the opportunity to become the Clerk for the City of Clawson in December 2020. She continued to work for Grand Blanc Township while they searched for her replacement. However, after a few months, Ms. Henry felt that her skills would be best utilized at Grand Blanc Township and she returned there as the full-time Deputy Clerk.
Deputy Clerk Henry is a MAMC member and completed the Clerk’s Institute. She received her MiPMC2 designation and CMC designation through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Lynn also belongs to the Genesee County Governmental Clerks where she has chaired and co-chaired several committees within the organization.
Lynn has a passion for teaching Election Inspectors, while at the City of Linden, she obtained permission from the County Clerk to be able to attend the “Train the Trainer” course so she could train her election workers as well as election inspectors in the Southern end of Genesee County.
Ms. Henry takes great pride in her organizational skills and runs a tight ship during the election cycle. She believes it is crucial to pay special attention to the details to ensure the day-to-day operations run smoothly. Lynn is always looking for new ways to improve procedures. She created an AVCB manual and a PowerPoint for “What Goes Where at the End of the Night”. These were both shared with Genesee County Clerks. The PowerPoint documented step-by-step procedures that detailed the envelope requirements to ensure the closing procedures ran efficiently. Ms. Henry also worked closely with the Genesee County Elections Director to help the Board of Canvassers run smoother after each election.
Most recently, Ms. Henry has been intimately involved in the crafting of the Township’s Civic Clerk software to fit the needs of the Township. She has also been working closely with the Police Department in the implementation of a new FOIA response software for both the Police Department and the Clerk’s Office.
Lynn states, “I give 110% all of the time. I’m willing to help wherever help is needed…I truly express my appreciation to every person that helps me run a successful election. I’ve worked hard and given a lot of time to learn this profession and do it well. I strive to make the work atmosphere positive and bring a positive attitude and smile each day…I love this job, some days may be stressful, but other days are so rewarding.”
Past Clerk of the Year Winners
City: Ellen Craig-Bragg, City of Romulus
Township: Michael Siegrist, Canton Township
Village: Kathryn Trapp, Village of Romeo
Deputy: Brenda Butler-Challender, Bath Charter Township
City: Melanie Ryska, City of Sterling Heights
Township: Mary Clark, Delta Township
Village: Angie Koon, Village of Kalkaska
Deputy: Amy Whipple, Brownstown Township
City: Jacqueline Beaudry, City of Ann Arbor
Township: Nancy Hedberg, Township of Scio
Village: Tina Martin, Village of Baroda
City: Holly Thompson, City of Williamston
Township: Jennifer Venema, Charter Township of Caledonia
Village: Amy Salowitz, Village of Pinckney
City: Benjamin Marentette, City of Traverse City
Township: Leon Wright, Van Buren Charter Township
Village: Elizabeth (Beth) Grohman, Village of Lexington
City: Tina Barton, City of Rochester Hills
Township: Susanne Courtade, East Bay Charter Township
Village: Tina Sauve, Village of Metamora
City: Dana Muscott, City of Bay City
Township: Chelsea Mikel, Sharon Township
Village: Kathryn Arledge, Village of Fowlerville
City: Pamela B. Smith, City of Farmington Hills
Township: Teresa L. Onica, Atlas Township
Village: Katie M. Cotey, Village of Parma
City: Heidi Isakson, City of Wyoming
Township: Robert Crawford, Fort Gratiot Township and Barbara Pallotta, Independence Township
City: Dianne Hill, City of Saline
Township: Janet Roncelli, Bloomfield Township
Village: Eileen Pulker, Franklin Village
City: Chris Swope, City of Lansing
Township: Carolyn Boersma, Spring Lake Township
Village: Arlene Nichols, Village of Lake Orion
City: Todd Blake, City of Fremont
Township: Joel Hondorp, Byron Township
Village: Sheri Kesterke, Village of Barrien Springs
City: Mary Kotowski, City of St. Clair Shores
Township: Terry Bennett, Canton Township
Village: Dianne Mensinger, Village of Baroda
City: Nancy M. Weiss, City of Birmingham
Township: Sue A. Hillebrand, Northville Township
City: Mary Therese Hegarty, City of Grand Rapids
Township: Evan Hope, Delhi Township
Village: Lonna M. Fisher, Village of Elkton
City: Linda Shannon, City of Auburn Hills
Township: Ann Ulrich, Hartland Township
Village: Ann Collins, Village of Milford
City: Debbra Curtiss, Traverse City
Township: Janet Santos, Bangor Charter Township
Village: Ellen Marshall, Village of Beverly Hills
City: Beverly Jasinski, City of Rochester Hills
Township: Terri Kowal, Shelby Charter Township
Village: Betty Kennedy, Village of North Branch
City: Tonni Bartholomew, City of Troy
Township: Sandra Abrams, Commerce Charter Township
Village: Marsha Powers, Village of Holly
City: Robert Slone, City of Ypsilanti
Township: Colleen Schwartz, Milford Charter Township
City: Maryanne Cornelius, City of Novi
Township: Janet Helsley, St. Joseph Charter Township
City: Sandy Gadd, City of Oak Park
Township: Arlene Hill, Chocolay Township
City: Blinda Baker, City of East Tawas
Township: Carol Wells, Lowell Charter Township
City: Gail Kundinger, City of Muskegon
Township: Joan McCrary, Independence Township
City: Sharon Streelman, City of Grandville
Township: Gloria Maichele, Emmet Township
City: Richard Saathoff, City of Grand Blanc
Township: Estella Beardslee, Spring Arbor Township
City: Kathryn Dornan, City of Farmington Hills
Township: Becky Dinson, Manistee Township
City: Karen Mazo, City of Woodhaven
Township: Sharon Tischler, Southfield Township
City: Nancy Miller, City of Rochester
Township: Edmund Good, Brookfield Township
City: Beverly Bacon, City of Kentwood
Township: Ila Burris, Lapeer Township
City: Lois Johnson, City of Portage
Township: Beverly Hammerstrom, Bedford Township
City: Connie Deford, City of Bay City
Township: Susan Morrow, Plainfield Charter Township
City: Sandra Wright, City of Grand Rapids
Township: Virginia White, Meridian Charter Township
City: Robert McLachlan, City of Dearborn Heights
Township: Marvin Besteman, Kinross Township
City: Mary Zander, City of Sterling Heights
Township: Rose Legg, Brownstown Charter Township
City: Donald Schipper, City of Holland
Township: Charles Keller, Cato Township