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Clerks’ certification marks first for city

Brookhaven can now boast that for the first time in anyone’smemory, the city has two certified clerks in the city clerk’soffice.

After 14 years of classes, City Clerk Mike Jinks and DeputyClerk Marsha Fairman were finally given their certifications by theMunicipal Clerks and Tax Collectors of Mississippi at the recentMississippi Municipal League convention.

“It’s great because you know you’re better trained for the job,”said Jinks. “And to my knowledge, we’ve never had a certifieddeputy clerk.”

Jinks has worked for the city clerk’s office since March 28,1994, and Fairman since Nov. 11, 1988. In that time, they have bothworked toward certification since the minute it was possible.

The certification classes take three years, but there’s a hitch.In order for the credits to count on the classes, a person mustalready hold the office of clerk or deputy clerk.

So as soon as Jinks was elected in 2003, he asked Fairman if shewanted to work with him toward both of their certifications.

The distinction is awarded based on classes completed and pointsamassed, with a certain number of points per program attended.

Some of the subjects covered in Fairman’s and Jinks’ educationwere clerk-specific, such as Tax Collections, Open Meetings andOpen Records, and Budget Preparation, but some are generalgovernmental and office organization-type classes like RiskManagement, Public Opinion Government and Conflict Management.

Both Jinks and Fairman were forced to repeat many of the classesthey had already taken in past years since the credit didn’t countuntil they were officially in the office for which they soughtcertification. As such, it was a victory to finally have the plaqueto put on the wall.

“There’s such a sense of pride in knowing you completedeverything it took to get here,” said Jinks.

Fairman agreed, noting that the quarterly classes were on top ofthe daily grinds of work and home life.

“You don’t know the feeling once all that is behind you,” shesaid. “We’ve accomplished so much, and it’s such a relief,especially when you think of what it took to get to this point andthe hurdles we’ve had to cross.”

Especially considering the certification is not mandatory forcity clerks and their deputies. Fairman and Jinks simply workedtoward the goal in order to be the best they possibly could attheir jobs.

“And you’ve got to want to finish the program,” said Jinks. “Theclasses aren’t easy and it’s quite a commitment.”

Fairman said for her, it was also about the achievementitself.

“That certification by your name has some clout,” she said.

The next step for the two is to get their Certified MunicipalClerk certification, which comes through the International Clerks’Association and is based on the qualifications they have alreadyamassed.

“Basically, Brookhaven is fortunate to have two certified clerksin the office,” said Fairman. “But much more than that, we’re luckyto be able to serve Brookhaven.”