Cynthia Valentine, Township Clerk
810-794-9303 Ext. 111
Hello fellow residents! If you may recall, I was appointed to take over as the Clerk for Clay Township in March of 2015. I was one of 21 candidates that applied for the job and interviewed by three Trustees. Previous to my application and offer of employment I knew no one at the Township. I was selected for the position based on my Education (Associates of Human Services, Associates of Accounting, Bachelor of General Studies with concentration in Criminal Justice and Human Service, and 2 classes short of completion of Masters in Business Administration), and also the previous work experience and knowledge that I held regarding the duties of the office of Clerk.
Since my appointment to office I have worked to review every account and process we have. I have personally spent the time to review minute and resolution books – back as far as the 1930’s to fully understand some of the decisions made and to make current informed decisions. It is my hope over the next four years to have all of these minutes and resolutions available and searchable online. I have also worked for months to organize the “HR” or “Human Resources” department. (Which when initially taking office, was not only non-compliant - but mostly non-existent). It is still a work in progress, however it has come a long way.
I have worked all days that the Township Offices were open with the exception of one day between the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. I am also here most Fridays and a lot of Saturdays. I pride myself on my dedication to my position and intend to keep that dedication for another 4 years. The audit reflecting my work in the last year will be reflected in the audit that is currently being performed by Beals, Caruana, and Company P.C. I have worked with staff to ensure thorough checks and balances are in place for not only the Clerk’s office, but the entire Township administrative activities. I also expect the audit to reflect that any minor checks and balances that were not implemented within the fiscal year have been implemented and are currently ongoing.
The “Statutory Duties of the Clerk” are as follows: Maintains custody of all township records Maintains general ledger Prepares warrants for township checks Records and maintains township meeting minutes Keeps the township book of oaths Responsible for special meeting notices Publishes board meeting minutes (if taxable value is $65 million in 2005, annually indexed, or a charter township) Keeps voter registration file and conducts elections Keeps township ordinance book Prepares financial statements Delivers tax certificates to supervisor and county clerk by September 30 Must appoint a deputy Must post a surety bond
I also perform all functions of human resources and benefit administration. This, in itself, is a full time job that saves the Township potentially $50,000 plus, from having to hire someone for this position. I also oversee and submit payroll for the Township employees – ensuring all of payroll has been given to all department heads as well as the Treasurers department and the Supervisor for review before submitting. As you see, this is not a part time position. It requires a solid full time 40 hours plus and then some help from support staff.
Part of the statutory duties of the Clerk are running elections. This is a very intricate process that is also time consuming. Each election is months of preparation beforehand and requires great attention to detail. There are many mandated trainings, reports, and activities that are required by the state of Michigan. My current deputy Laura Petzel has been a lifesaving wealth of knowledge that has gotten us through the two elections so far, and preparation for this upcoming election. She will be greatly missed upon her retirement this January.
I can personally assure every voter that this election process has been carefully reviewed for accuracy to the best of the ability with the information we are provided. For example, we have had 2 ballots returned due the unfortunate situation of the voter passing. I cannot remove any voter from the Michigan database that is kept by the Michigan Bureau of Elections without proper documentation. Monthly, the Township is sent a report from the County that lists registered voters to be removed. All absentee ballots that are returned for the election are required to be signed by the voter and matched up to master signature cards on file. As with any election, I welcome an audit to see if our processes have any weaknesses.
I am available at any time should you have any questions about myself, my role in the Township or about the Township itself. There is, unfortunately, always work to be done. If you can’t reach me at the Township @ extension 111, please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com with a proposed time for a meeting or phone call. I will be happy to accommodate. It has been my pleasure to work relentlessly with the Board of Trustees and our Auditors to improve the processes and direction of the clerk’s office, and look forward to continuous improvement over the next four years with the support of your vote.