Following in the footsteps of other city clerks before her, City Clerk Ashley Melnik has been granted tenure by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 18 when he signed a special act approved by the House of Representatives and by the State Senate.
Melnik, 35, has been the city clerk since 2010, also serving as a justice of the peace and notary public. She graduated from Revere High School in 2000 and from Salem State University in 2005.
“It’s an honor to have the privilege of serving the residents of Revere for the future,” Melnik said.
The process for tenure began at the City Council meeting on Jan. 8, 2018 when Council President Jessica Giannino offered a motion to re-appointment Melnik. as City Clerk for a term of five years in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 17 of the Acts of 2012. The motion was subsequently approved. During discussion on the motion for re-appointment, Councillors began discussing the possibility of offering Melnik a longer term.
At the City Council meeting of February 5, 2018 Councillor George Rotondo offered the proposed special legislation, An Act Relative to the Tenure of Office of the City Clerk of the City of Revere. The special legislation was unanimously approved by the City Council that evening and forwarded to the Mayor for his approval.
Upon receiving local approval, the special legislation was then forwarded to the state legislature for consideration. Rep. Vincent and Sen. Boncore co-sponsored House Bill 4264 An Act Relative to the Tenure of Office of the City Clerk of the City of Revere, which was filed on February 27, 2018. The House referred the bill to the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government for discussion and thereafter to the Committee on House Steering, Policy, and Scheduling. Rep. Ted Speliotis offered a substitute bill, House Bill 4369. House Bill 4369 was then enacted by the House and the Senate on July 9, 2018 and signed by Gov. Baker on July 18, 2018.
City Clerk Melnik answered a few questions from the Revere Journal:
What will this tenure allow you to do as city clerk?
Having tenure as city clerk will afford me the opportunity to provide stability in an office that is fast paced and often faced with time sensitive tasks. Tenure will allow me to continue providing a wide knowledge base to city staff and residents about the revised ordinances of the City of Revere, City Council processes, open meeting law requirements, and any other questions I find myself being asked on a daily basis.
Tenure will allow me to continue to bring new technology to the city clerk’s office and the City Council. The next project I have been working on is upgrading the electrical work and technology in the City Councillor Joseph A. DelGrosso City Council Chambers. By the end of the year, I hope to install new monitors, HDMI jacks, and new outlets for laptops and phones to allow the City Council, any other boards, or developers utilizing the Council Chamber to conduct presentations in a professional and efficient manner. Upon approval of funding, I can proceed with the project.
Additionally, I will continue furthering my education and earn the designation of certified municipal clerk through the International Institute of municipal clerks. This designation is based on experience and continuing education courses. This title will ensure continued professionalism within the city clerk’s office.
How has the job changed since you’ve been City Clerk and since other clerks have been in?
Believe it or not, the job has not changed that much since 1915. Many of the duties that fall upon the city clerk are governed by Massachusetts General Laws. The main difference is that the use of technology to perform the job is being implemented more and more. There are three significant examples of new technology being employed in the city clerk’s office:
In 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health rolled out the Vitals Information Partnership (VIP) – an electronic vital record registration system. The first phase of VIP was the birth record module. City and town clerks are now able to register, print certified and archival copies, and process amendments with ease from an internet-based program as opposed to receiving birth records by mail for recording purposes. In 2014, VIP launched the death record module which has similar functionality. I’m looking forward to VIP creating a marriage license module
Beginning in 2016, I began using MinuteTraq for the City Council. MinuteTraq has simplified and automated the legislative management process for the creation of agendas and meeting minutes.
In 2017, the state legislature instituted an updated public records law which encourages cities and towns to make certain information and records which are of great interest to the general public, such as meeting minutes, readily available and easily accessible on the municipality’s website. In the near future, the city clerk’s office as well as other offices in City Hall will be implementing an electronic document management system to streamline document retrieval and sharing.
Who are the previous city clerks who also received tenure?
There have only been three other city clerks since 1915: Albert J. Brown (1915-1938), Joseph F. McChristal (1938-1977), and John J. Henry (1977-2010). The former city clerks received tenure through the provisions of Chapter 199 of the Acts of 1923, An Act Relative to the Tenure of Office of the City Clerk of the City of Revere and to the Manner of His Election and Removal. Chapter 199 of the Acts of 1923 was repealed prior to John Henry’s retirement by Chapter 128 of the Acts of 2009, An Act Relative to the Tenure of the City Clerk, City Collector, and City Engineer of the City of Revere. Through the provisions of Chapter 137 of the Acts of 2018 I now have tenure as well.
What is the city clerk’s primary responsibility?
The city clerk is the “official record keeper” of the city by accurately preserving public records by establishing, maintaining, correcting, indexing and certifying all vital statistics and recording the legislative actions of the City Council. In addition, the city clerk maintains the Revised Ordinances of the City of Revere and issues various licenses and registrations including business certificates, dog licenses, and Chapter 148 licenses. The city clerk also records and maintains special permit decisions of the City Council and variance decisions of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
You are also a justice of the peace – how many weddings do you perform in a day/year?
I perform about 200 weddings per year. Sometimes I could have four or five weddings in a week on my schedule and sometimes I won’t have any weddings scheduled at all. I see it fluctuate more around popular months to get married or around holidays, especially Valentine’s Day.
In your overall role – what is done that the public might not think about you doing?
In conjunction with the mayor’s office, I’ve conducted tours of City Hall for students enrolled in the History of Revere course at Revere High School. I provide a brief explanation of the duties and responsibilities of each office and I also get to point out my favorite architectural element of City Hall, the stained glass in the Council Chamber ceiling featuring words from the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride.