Greenwood clerk candidates stress access

Two Republicans running for Greenwood city clerk want to make city records more accessible, connect with the public more via social media and make it easier for residents to pay fines.

Incumbent Jeannine Myers, who has served for 12 years as Greenwood’s clerk-treasurer and clerk, faces a challenge from Greenwood school board member and city parks employee Nick Schwab, who is seeking his first elected city office.

Myers said shehopes to continue efforts to digitize paper records and set up an online or phone payment system for ordinance violations. Schwab said he wants to connect with more people via the Web or social media to let them know the services the clerk’s office offers them, since many people don’t know.

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The city clerk is elected for a four-year term and is responsible for tasks such as keeping records for the city council, transcribing and distributing minutes from city meetings, posting local notices and agendas for meetings, maintaining city records including all city ordinances, fulfilling public information requests and managing the city’s ordinance violations program, including collecting fines and fees. Since Greenwood is now a second-class city, the clerk is also responsible for helping manage the cases of the Greenwood City Court.

Since making the transition to a second-class city, the clerk no longer handles any of the city’s bookkeeping or finances. Those duties are performed by the controller, who is appointed by the mayor, and staff in the finance department.

Myers said her primary goal if re-elected is to continue to consolidate the city’s records as much as possible and make it easier for people to do business with the clerk’s office. Currently people fined for a city ordinance violation, such as noise or unkempt properties, have to come in and make a payment in person, but Myers is working to set up a system allowing people to pay over the phone or online. She also is working on digitizing older city records for easier access and helping the city court sort through all of its case folders dating back to 1967, scanning in new cases and discarding older, closed files.

Schwab said a top priority would be to raise public awareness about what the clerk’s office does and the services offered to residents. While going door-to-door campaigning, he said, he found that most people don’t know what role the clerk plays in city government.

He said he wants to use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, as a way to connect with residents and share information about what’s happening in the city, inform people about services the clerk’s office can provide and share documents or notices people might be interested in.

Both clerk candidates want to make sure public records, such as agendas, meeting minutes, court cases and ordinances, are easily accessible to city officials, residents and media.

Some of those items already are available on the city website but aren’t always easy to find, Schwab said. People can submit an information request from the website, but he wants to see if the city could make adjustments to the website to make documents easier to find without having to request them, he said.

“I would definitely look into a more user-friendly website, and there definitely could be some more options. Look at what other cities do to make things more accessible,” Schwab said.

Myers said she has made the clerk’s office a central clearinghouse where city boards now turn in all of their agendas, notices and minutes. That wasn’t happening when she first took office when different boards handled their own records. She wants to continue efforts to have city boards to turn in all materials that are public records, including items presented at meetings.

“I try to every meeting remind them they need to give me a copy of everything. To me a public record is anything presented at the meeting. If they’re giving the council a copy, they should be giving the clerk one, too,” Myers said.

Myers also wants the city to scan documents and discard records that are no longer needed according to state laws. One major project is continuing to sort through city court records and determine what cases are complete, what old cases are still open and need to be closed and organizing ongoing cases. The city has boxes of records cluttering up the court, police station and city center building, which need to be sorted through, she said.

If elected, Schwab said, he plans to learn in his first weeks how the office functions and interacts with the other city departments. He would plan to meet with city council members, the mayor and other departments to see if they had any suggestions about how to streamline processes or provide better service to city employees and residents, he said.

Schwab grew up in Greenwood, and his job with the city parks department as a teen inspired him to pursue a recreation management degree. He’s been able to serve Greenwood on the school board and as a city employee and would resign from both if elected, he said. Schwab said he wants to advance his political career in the city and give back to the community by serving as clerk.

“Greenwood has given me a wonderful opportunity. I started working when I was 15 years old at the parks department, and that encouraged me to get into parks and recreation. And I was lucky enough to come back,” Schwab said.

Myers said she has the experience to be re-elected to another term. She’s spent her career in government offices for the state, county and 20 years in Greenwood, including 12 years as an elected official, and all of those roles have given her a broad view of how local government functions. She’s also completed 100 hours of training with the Master Municipal Clerk Academy and on the court management system.

“All my background is government, and I feel like it all falls together. All those years of experience, it makes me more knowledgeable about where to send people or where to get the answers from and if I can’t answer, who to send them to,” Myers said.

The Schwab file

Name: Nick Schwab

Age: 34

Family: Wife, Jessica; children, AJ, 3½, and Maddox, 4 months.

Education: Greenwood Community High School, Indiana State University with a degree in recreation sports management with focus in parks and community recreation.

Current occupation: Youth activities and special event coordinator for Greenwood Parks and Recreation. Part-time real estate broker with TODD Realty Group.

Political experience: Greenwood school board member since 2011. Served three years on Central Nine governing board.

Affiliations: Member of Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors, Greenwood High School Alumni Association vice president.

The Myers file

Name: Jeannine Myers

Age: 57

Family: Husband, Jon; two daughters.

Education: High school diploma. Began classes at IUPUI and has taken continuing education courses. Indiana Association of Cities and Towns municipal management institute certification. Municipal clerk accreditation through Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers

Current Occupation: Current Greenwood city clerk

Political experience: Greenwood clerk-treasurer for eight years, current city clerk since 2011.

Affiliations: National League of Cities, Indiana League of Cities and Towns, National Federation of Republican Women, Johnson County Republican Women’s Club

About the job

Greenwood city clerk

Term: Four years

Represents: All of Greenwood

Salary: $59,053

Duties: Keeping records for the city council, transcribing and distributing minutes from city meetings, posting local notices and agendas for meetings, maintain city records including all city ordinances, fulfill public information requests and manage the city’s ordinance violations program, including collecting fines and fees. The clerk also is responsible for helping manage the cases of the Greenwood City Court.