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Nicole Charest - Town Clerk

The Town Clerk’s Office is more complex than most realize. We are responsible for many duties that keep the town functioning, including elections, land records, minutes and agendas, licenses and permits, and vital records. Essentially, this position is equivalent to the Secretary of State but on the municipal level. Every one of these responsibilities has several strict processes that the Town Clerk must follow.

However, despite knowing these processes we often are asked questions with no clear answer. Everyday, there is a new question or problem that will require previous experience to solve. It is an office where everyday is different. A Town Clerk must manage deadlines and months long projects while attending to varied day to day requests. A Town Clerk handbook exists, but it will not help to handle the specific questions residents come to us for daily. It requires a personality type that can handle constant interruptions, be able to multitask, work exceptionally well with others, and constantly be willing to learn​


The certification process for Connecticut Town Clerks requires 2 years of experience in a municipal office as well as 6 classes and an exam. This entire process takes 2-3 years to complete due to the annual rotation of classes. There are several other certifications as well including Certified Municipal Clerk and Master Municipal Clerk which require more intensive professional development programs. I am one class away from receiving my certification. I also recently completed my first year of the New England Municipal Clerks Institute, the first part of a three year program. Each year is a week’s worth of classes from 8am to 7pm daily in addition to collaborative projects with other Town Clerks. This is all to prepare for a national certification with the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.


Unlike secretaries and executive assistants, Town Clerks are beholden to State Statutes and the Town Charter. We must complete our duties as required by law, regardless of our personal thoughts or even the requests of our constituents. This position requires someone who takes this level of responsibility very seriously. We handle sensitive documents daily and mistakes in processes or missed deadlines could constitute a violation of someone’s rights.

  • 2 years experience in Durham Town Clerk’s Office

  • Will be a Certified Connecticut Town Clerk in June 2024 after completing 2-3 year program -Certified Notary Public

  • Completed first year at New England Municipal Clerk Institute, 3 year program with one week intensive classes/projects annually for international certification

  • Proven customer service and communication ability

  • Knowledge of State Statues for Town Clerks and experience using them in practice in Durham

  • Demonstrated initiative to improve processes and convenience in the Town Clerk’s Office -Knowledge of Durham’s specific history and how that influences the Land Records

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