Come home to Highland!
The office of the clerk-treasurer
embodies the following functions:
• Receive and care for all monies
• Cash management
• Internal audit
• Fee collection
• Budget officer
• Revenue forecasting
• Archivist for records
• Keeper of the municipal seal
• Clerk of the legislative body
• Acknowledging official
• Journal clerk
• Reading clerk
• Officer of the municipality
as its corporate secretary
and corporate treasurer
HISTORY OF THE CLERK-TREASURER OFFICE
HISTORY IN HIGHLAND
Highland was incorporated April 4, 1910 after Andrew Reiner presented a petition to the
Lake County Commissioners asking that the 304 residents be organized as a town. The
first election of municipal officials was held the following year.
At the time of Highland’s incorporation, Indiana law provided for separately elected Town
Clerks and Town Treasurers. It would be another 25 years before Indiana combined the
two and the elected position of Clerk-Treasurer was created.
ORIGINS OF OFFICE
The office of the municipal clerk traces its origins to the period before Bible times.
• Town Remembrancer “Mazkir Ha’ir” in Hebrew is the term used for Town Clerk.
• Title “clerk” is derived from the Latin “Clericus”. It is how the current title clergy is
derived as well and represented from the middle ages those who were considered
learned or scholarly owing to the ability to read, write and serve as a recording official.
• City Clerk for Old England was established 1272 A.D.
• Clerk Comptroller of the King’s Household was established in the 1500s.
HISTORY IN UNITED STATES AND IN INDIANA
Although its roots can be traced to Great Britain, the unique formulation of clerktreasurer
which combines the office of secretariat of the municipal corporation and the
legislative body along with the offices of fiscal, disbursing and investing officer of the
corporation, could be argued to be uniquely American.
New England Colonies established town clerks in their early municipal governments. In
England, the Office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was established following the
development of the Magna Carta, provided for the first time a reversal from the Feudal
system of paying dues for the protection of the realm to a system of taxes which allowed
for consultation with the populace prior to taxing. Chancellor of the Exchequer is the
equivalent of the budget officer for government and the title of chancellor suggests the
proximity to the executive as well as some of the administrative duties familiar to clerks.
The American nature of the clerk-treasurer’s work as manager of appropriations is very
much an outgrowth of an early debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander
Hamilton whether the Legislative Branch of the new government or the Executive should
have province over spending authority.
The Founding Fathers coalesced around the notion that spending is allowed only when
appropriated by the legislative body.
Laws for city and towns expressly prohibit the clerk-treasurer from disbursing from the
local treasury except upon allowance of the proper board of jurisdiction and those
boards of jurisdiction may not spend unless the monies have been appropriated by the