BC city secretary calling it a career
Bridge City was incorporated as a city on July 7, 1970.
In that time period there has been only four city secretaries. The current city secretary since 2003, Sherry Tisdale, said she will be stepping down in October after serving under several mayors and council members and doing recovery work after a few hurricanes.
“I work directly for the city council. I have seven bosses,” she joked. “The most repetitive thing I do is the agenda and the minutes.”
Another aspect of the job that increased since Tisdale started is processing public information requests.
“Public information requests have grown. They come to me and it then goes to the department heads. I give them a date it needs to be back. It’s not hard, it’s just time consuming,” she said.
Some of the more popular topics for public information requests concern police information, personnel matters, and companies contacting her about particular items. She also writes specific legal notices, such as the positing of public hearings, to post in the newspaper. Additionally, meeting minutes must be posted within 72 hours by state law.
Other city secretary responsibilities include:
• Acting as Records Management Officer for the City, processing Public Information Requests and overseeing compliance with all provisions and State statutes governing records management
- Coordinating all City elections and overseeing early voting
- Developing City Council agenda packets and posting of agendas
- Insuring ordinances are published when necessary and codified in a timely manner
- Issuing initial alcoholic beverage permits
- Maintaining all official documents of the City and when necessary filing official documents at the County Courthouse
- Performing other duties as the City Council shall assign
- Recording and preparing the minutes of the proceedings of such meetings
- Responsible for keeping abreast of current laws relating to the Open Meetings Act, Public Information Act, Election Code and any other laws applicable to Municipal Law
- Serving as “Ex-Officio” Clerk of the Municipal Court by supervising Municipal Court administration
Since elections only come around every once in a while, many city secretaries don’t have much experience running them at the beginning. Fortunately, there’s help out there. The Texas Municipal Clerks hosts an election school in January that “helps tremendously,” she said. Tisdale can also email the TMC or other city secretaries, whether locally or statewide, with questions.
“i’m glad I’ve worked for the city long enough to know about the workings of the city and to know about the position (city secretary); knowing who does what,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale has a two-year degree from Lamar University in office administration. She started working for the city part-time in 1984. Prior to that she worked at Texaco Refinery in Port Arthur. In 1987, she started working more than 40 hours a week in utilities billing after the city took over the water district in 1986.
She rose through the ranks as a customer service supervisor, then the warrants clerk, and planning and development coordinator where she issued permits and supervised code enforcement. She added that working in planning and development was a big help for the city secretary position because she learned about the ordinances and where to find them.
Tisdale, furthermore, is no newcomer to Bridge City. Her parents had deep roots in Bridge City and in Orangefield and they also were involved in public service. Her mother was also the city secretary and her father served on the Bridge City ISD Board of Trustees. Her mother was also the secretary for the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber didn’t have a building yet and her mother placed a typewriter on the dining room table for Chamber work. Additionally, the Chamber’s phone number was their home number.
“When (current city manager) Jerry (Jones) came on board as the public works director, we did a lot of digging into the code of ordinances,” she said. “I enjoyed working for the city. The employees are like family. I served under some good mayors and good councils.”
After she retires, Tisdale and her husband are in the middle of building a house. She also wants to be “Nanna” to her grandchildren and just do what she wants to do.
The city will soon begin the search for another city secretary.