For nearly nine years Mesa City Clerk Dee Ann Mickelsen has been the engine behind City Council, responsible for, among other things, managing its meetings, checking the agenda and assuring things run smoothly.
Now, after a total 24 years of service to Mesa, Mickelsen is retiring.
Mickelsen said most people don’t realize just how important the City Clerk’s job is.
“City Clerks are responsible for covering all city council meetings and managing all city council documents. While they have different responsibilities, all city clerks that I know of are used to wearing many, many hats,” Mickelsen said.
Among the duties clerks also play a role in are those related to municipal elections with different levels of responsibility depending on the city.
Clerks also serve as liaisons between their department and the Arizona State Library to ensure that records are being managed, according to the specifications of state law.
Mickelsen said her office also engages in unique duties, such as administering the city Public Safety Retirement Board, for which she serves as the secretary.
Mickelsen’s office also administers the Judicial Advisory Board, manages public record requests and assists the mayor’s office with advisory board appointments.
Mikelsen said having a good staff is the key to success for any city clerk.
She stressed the importance of motivating a staff and made it her job to encourage her subordinates to take training classes as well as get professional certifications.
H er successor continues that tradition, explaining, “For me the most important thing is somebody that is a good leader and that is willing to help the staff continue to grow.”
Mesa City Council recently discussed how to replace Mickelsen. Mayor John Giles told the session the city should find a replacement quickly so that Mickelsen can help with the adjustment before she leaves next January.
“It’d be great to have this person in place during the month of January, so they have a week or two of overlap with Dee Ann,” Mayor Giles stated.
At the study session, City Manager Chris Brady said the city would not be using a recruitment firm but would list Mickelsen’s job as a public notice and focus on candidates who are familiar with municipal government in Arizona.
“Let’s just focus on candidates that are pretty much more familiar with local government and Arizona State laws and election laws.”
After the notice is posted Human Resources Director and HR analysts reduce the applications to the top ten.
The top ten candidates are presented to the Council who in return reduce that number to half. The remaining candidates are introduced to an interview panel who hold telephonic interviews.
The City Council then interview the last four candidates and conclude the selection process beginning of next year.
As her time with Mesa comes to an end, the previous winner of “City Clerk of the year” Dee Ann Mickelsen says she will miss her colleagues the most.
“The people that work for Mesa are some of the smartest people I know and some of the most dedicated people I know and so I will definitely miss the interaction with the residents and with the staff that work for Mesa.”