The clerk‘s office in Mount Olive is the engine that keeps the town running smoothly. The municipal clerk’s provides administrative services for the township, archives and records management, legislative services, election duties and much more.
“The Township Clerk’s Office has many functions,” said Michelle Masser, Township Clerk. In addition to the duties Secretary to the Governing Body and Chief Administrative Office of Elections, Ms. Masser listed Chief Registrar of Voters, Administrative Officer, Records Coordinator and Manager as well as other duties that may be imposed state statutes and regulations or municipal ordinances or regulations as the core duties of the office.
“Our job IS to serve the Public,” said Ms. Masser. “We greet and help the public with questions in person as well as on the phone and through email.”
The clerk’s office is the link that connects the public to the their local government. The office plays a vital part in the day to day operations of municipal governments.
“The purpose of the City Clerk as mandated by New Jersey State law and local ordinance, is to provide complete administrative support to the Municipal Council, including budget and legislative research, maintenance and access of official city records, and performance of other administrative functions such as certain licensing requirements. The Office of the City Clerk also is responsible for the conduct of municipal elections and carries out the ministerial and statutory requirements for primary and general elections,” according to the city of Newark’s official website.
The Clerk’s Office offers free notary services. All that is needed is a valid form of ID. Either a driver’s license or passport is acceptable. The office also handle all OPRA requests. OPRA, which is short for Open Public Records Act, “is a state law enacted to give the public greater access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey” as stated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities website.
Liquor license management is handled through the clerk’s office. Mount Olive has a total of 25 liquor licenses for consumption, distribution and club. Only existing licenses can be purchased at this time, if a person is interested a liquor license they would need to find someone willing to sell their license.
Municipal Council meetings are a major aspect of the clerk’s office duties. The clerk’s office is responsible for preparing the itinerary and agenda for Council Meetings and posting to the town’s website. The clerk’s office is responsible for maintaining minutes of the Council Meetings. Minutes also known as minutes of meeting, refers to the notes taken during a meeting.
Ms. Masser and her staff help with preparation for township elections. There are 22 voting districts in Mount Olive.
Other duties handled by the clerk’s office are the processing and issuing raffle and bingo applications, processing and issuing of limo and taxi applications, give oaths of office, landlord registration, certificates of achievements, foreclosure notices, update township E-Code book, process peddler/solicitor applications and permits, Pay to Play, financial disclosure, prepare agenda for Ethics Board meetings, attending budget hearings, handle developer’s agreements including receiving and releasing of cash/surety bonds, driveway and landscape bonds, records manager, custodian of records; process, record, file all ordinances and resolutions and advertise when appropriate, legal notices for the township and elections.
“Residents can come in and register to vote and obtain a variety of information regarding the Township,” said Ms. Masser. “If we don’t have the information, we point them in the right direction.”
The clerk’s office has three positions, Township Clerk, Deputy Township Clerk and Assistant to the Township Clerk. Ms. Masser has been at the clerk’s office for twenty three years.
Ms. Masser was hired in 1995 as Assistant to the Township Clerk, in 2004 she was appointed to Deputy Clerk. Ms. Masser obtained her Registered Municipal Clerk’s Certificate in 2010 and has been Township Clerk since 2015.
“My favorite aspect of working for the Clerk’s Office is the diversity,” said Ms. Masser. “There is such a range of different duties and day to day responsibilities including serving the public, no two days are ever the same and we are always meeting new people.”
The Deputy Township Clerk is Susan Gouveia who was appointed to the position October 1, 2015. Ms. Gouveia obtained her Registered Municipal Clerks Certificate in 2017.
“The Deputy Township Clerk shall serve in such capacity during the absence or disability of the Township Clerk, and said Deputy Township Clerk shall have all of the powers of the Township Clerk and shall perform the functions and duties of the Township Clerk during said Township Clerk‘s absence or disability,” said Ms. Masser.
Ms. Gouveia echoed sentiments expressed by Ms. Masser, her favorite part of her job is the diversity and never knowing what each day will bring her way.
Ms. Gouveia’s day-to-day duties include filing, records retention, handling OPRA requests, notary services to the public, elections – helps prepare for all elections. The Deputy Township Clerk’s duties are assigned by the Township Clerk and also include other functions as necessary.
The handling of Pay to Play is governed by the clerk’s office. Ms. Gouveia stated she sends out forms, does tracking and makes copy of forms for necessary personnel
“Contributions by for-profit business entities that have or are seeking New Jersey government contracts, a practice known as pay-to-play, are subject to restrictions,” according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s website. Ms. Gouveia makes sure the township is in compliance with New Jersey’s Pay to Play laws.
In her time at the Mount Olive Clerk Office Ms. Gouveia feels she has grown much both personally and professionally and stated the job “has been a wonderful experience.” She cited Ms. Masser as being a good friend, mentor and boss who has taught her much and still continues to teach her new things.
Ms. Gouveia has been a resident of Mount Olive since 2012. She is very happy with Mount Olive’s school system and feels this is a great town to raise her children. Ms. Gouveia stated there was an adjustment period within her first year after moving to Mount Olive as she went from a stay at home mother to working full time.
“I feel like I belong here though and it was a good choice for me to bring my family here,” stated Ms. Gouveia. “I do believe everything happens for a reason and finding a job here in town has just changed my life.”
The Assistant to the Township Clerk is Jessica Sosa. Ms. Sosa is new to the office having been hired in March of 2018.
Ms. Sosa’s main function is “is typing the minutes of the Township Council Workshops (summary) and Public Meetings (verbatim), answering the phones, processing mail, copying, setting up for Council meetings, handling OPRA requests, answering questions and directing the public and helps prepare for elections” said Ms. Masser.