The Historian: Town Clerk Sarah Kimrey

Municipal Clerk's Week is May 5-11, 2024

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Town Clerk Sarah Kimrey reading through the oldest recorded town minutes from February 1843.

Growing up in Orange County, Sarah Kimrey never dreamed of being a town clerk, but she did know that she loved history. 

As Hillsborough’s clerk, Kimrey is the gatekeeper of the town’s records and minutes, which date to February 1843. The oldest minutes are handwritten on large pieces of paper and bound together in binders that are kept in a fireproof cabinet just a few steps away from her desk. 

By state law, each city, town and county is required to have a clerk. Appointed by the town manager, the town clerk functions as the town’s historian. This is ideal for Kimrey, who is introverted and enjoys working independently to uncover requested information. 

“I like the research that goes into some of my work — having to read through statutes and trying to interpret that information,” Kimrey said. “I like reading through past minutes to see how things were handled.” 

Records requests to the town start with Kimrey. From there, she will begin her research or refer requests to the appropriate department for records the clerk doesn’t store. Anyone can request public records, such as residents working on history projects, attorneys working on the discovery phase for a case and media requesting information for stories. Although usually not overwhelming, requests can sometimes require extensive work and help from other departments. 

“I enjoy helping the public by getting them the information they need,” Kimrey said. 

Kimrey has worked almost two decades for the town. She feels this role is the best fit for her. She started as a billing and collections clerk in 2006, primarily assisting water customers with their utility bills, and then later moved into accounts payable and payroll processing. In 2019, she switched to human resources and clerk duties in a dual position. In October 2021, she was promoted to town clerk and continued her role as human resources technician. 

“I always hated math growing up, so it was refreshing to switch from finance to administration,” Kimrey said. 

In her clerk role, Kimrey facilitates public board meetings, prepares agenda packets and ensures board procedures follow state meeting laws. 

She handles requests to place items on the board’s agenda, seeking approval from the town manager and mayor. She recommends submitting requests two weeks before the meeting. 

At the regular meetings on the second Monday of each month, anyone can sign up to speak for up to three minutes during the public comment period. 

After meetings, Kimrey follows up on items approved or directed by the board. This includes obtaining signatures from leaders on items like proclamations — ceremonial documents without legal ties that are issued by the mayor, such as recognition of Black History Month.  

Kimrey enjoys collaborating with different departments and people in both her clerk and human resources roles, helping answer questions not only from the public but also from town employees. 

She said she likes a clean desk at the end of the day, with all boxes checked on her to-do list and all inquiries answered. 

“Everybody has an opinion; everybody has things they are passionate about,” Kimrey said. “I think it’s great when they are passionate about local government, so get involved.”