To Certify or Not to Certify! That is the Question

Posted on August 2, 2018

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Kathy Payne, CMC

By Kathy Payne, CMC, City of St. Helens, OR, City Recorder

“What does the CMC behind your name stand for?” That’s the real question I get. And when I hear that question, I ponder its meaning to me. I could make fun of it and say that I’m the Certified Mess Collector because that’s what it feels like sometimes. Or maybe it stands for Certified Memo Creator because I do that, too.

There’s so many definitions I could come up with but the real truth is that I am a Certified Municipal Clerk and very proud of it! It may not seem like a big deal to some but it means a lot to me.

No, I didn’t go to college for four years and get a bachelor’s degree. Even if I did, I wouldn’t necessarily have letters behind my name.

What did I do to deserve those three basic letters…C.M.C.? I joined an organization called the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), which is a non-profit organization that promotes continuing education and certification through university and college-based institutes and provides networking solutions, services and benefits to its members worldwide. I also joined my state association, the Oregon Association of Municipal Recorders (OAMR). Both have specific criteria to join and I happened to meet all of their criteria in my job as a City Recorder. In order to be certified through IIMC, you must accumulate 60 Education Points and 50 Experience Points. The way we accumulate these points is by attending accredited institutes, conferences, academies, trainings, and by working in a field related to the duties of a municipal clerk. It takes time to accumulate these points. So, to anyone considering getting certified, start now! I received my CMC in 2011 and am just now finally getting to apply for my Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) designation. Like I said, it takes time. But it’s worth it.

An acronym doesn’t define me but if you knew what I did to accomplish my certification and to get those simple letters behind my name, you would understand the significance. I encourage anyone in a career field like a clerk or recorder to go to the IIMC website at and see if you meet the criteria to join. If you can, join and start the learning!!  I have gained so much knowledge through the certification process and have made friendships in my field that will last a lifetime!  Both priceless!

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