Public Servant: City clerk maintains city’s history, records

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Behind Joy Curtis’ desk is a vault door, which protects more than two centuries of records for the City of Winchester.

There are meeting minutes all the way back to 1794 in that vault, shortly after the city was incorporated.

As the city clerk, part of Curtis’ duties are maintaining those records as well as recording the minutes at each city commission meeting.

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“I’m basically a librarian,” Curtis said. “(Winchester Fire-EMS Chief Cathy) Rigney was looking for an order. It was here so I could find it. One of the firefighters was looking for records on a 1925 fire truck purchased by the city. I’ve been going through the records and there’s snippets.”

During the commissions twice-a-month regular meetings, Curtis sits next to the commissioners, records the motions and votes, and reads ordinances and orders as needed.

Her other many duties include preparing documents for the city licensing board and working in the process of issuing alcohol licenses for the city. Dealing with the alcohol licenses is the toughest part, she said, because she’s still learning the process.

“People have to go through the state to get an alcohol license, then the city has an alcohol license,” she said.

Curtis was appointed city clerk in January 2018, following about nine years as deputy city clerk. Through her two decades at city hall, she has worked with two mayors and three city managers.

“I did whatever needed to be done,” she said. “I enjoy people coming in and being able to help them.”

The general public, though, doesn’t always know the difference between what the city clerk, county clerk and circuit court clerk do.

Between getting calls for  the county clerk and the circuit court clerk, Curtis said she rarely gets a call for herself.

“Today, I think I’ve received six to eight calls and they were all for the circuit court clerk or the county clerk,” she said. “Mondays are usually the busiest for calls.”

Most people, she said, want to know about their court date or license plates. Neither is handled at City Hall, so Curtis gives them the proper number and sends them on their way.

“It’s part of the job to help anybody,” she said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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