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City Clerk

What is a City Clerk-What does that mean?

A City Clerk is a professional who possesses specialized training in many areas of public administration whether is by virtue of years of experience or academic training or a combination thereof. Among the areas of expertise for any City Clerk include: Elections, Legislative Process and Records Management. Additionally, the City Clerk must be well versed and have experience in Personnel Administration and Project Management. Generally speaking, the City Clerk acts as the City's General Secretary and serves the Citizenry, the City Council and City Staff.

What is the Office of the City Clerk?

The Office of City Clerk is one of the oldest established offices in human history and the profession itself is among the oldest dating back to antiquity. From a historical perspective, the profession of City Clerk can be traced to biblical times and even before that.

In antiquity, ancient Greece and Rome had a city secretary who read official documents publicly. At the opening of a meeting, one of his duties was to read a curse upon anyone who should seek to deceive the people.
The early keepers of the archives were called remembrancers, and before writing came into use, their memory was the public record. The title as we know it today it is derived from the middle ages. A "Clerk" was any member of a religious order, a "cleric" or "clergyman." Since, for all practical purposes, the scholarship of the middle Ages was limited to the clergy, the name “clerk” came to be synonymous with “scholar.”

The Office of Clerk can be traced back to the year 1272 A.D. in the History of the Corporation of Old London. In the 1500's in England there was not only the “Towne Clarke” but also the “Clerc Comptroller of the King's Honorable Household.” In 1603, there was a “Clarke General of the Armie.” King Henry the Eight had a “Clarke of the Spicery” and King Charles had his “Clerk of the Robes.”

When early colonists came to America, they set up forms of local government to which they had been accustomed, and the office of the clerk was one of the first established.

(Source: City Clerk's Handbook, 2004 edition, page 1-1.)

The profession of City Clerk is as relevant today as it was in the past whereby every town, city, county, borough, special district, school district, state and even the United States Congress has its own Clerk. In the United States Congress, we find the “Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives” and similarly, at the state level here in California, we find the “Office of the Chief Clerk” in Sacramento.

What does the City Clerk do and what are the specific duties of this office?

The duties of the City Clerk are prescribed by statute and are outlined in the California Government Code. The duties of the Clerk can vary from city to city. However, generally speaking a City Clerk is tasked with: keeping a correct record of journal proceedings through minutes; serving as accounting officer and maintaining financial records; publishing city's financial report; maintaining book of ordinances; resolutions and minutes; retaining custody of all city records; being the custodian of the city seal; acting as an ex-officio assessor; administering oaths of office to elected officials and city staff; taking  and certifying affidavits and depositions; indexing all city records; maintaining a records retention program; conducting and managing elections; acting as secretary to all city entities (Redevelopment, Housing, Water and Public Financing Authorities); receiving  petitions relating to initiatives, referendum or recall processes; countersigning general obligation bonds; attesting to subpoenas; giving notices of public hearings; filing official bonds; accepting request for proposals; accepting and opening bids; serving as filing officer for the Political Reform Act; maintaining appointive list of all commissioners; preparing agendas; answering citizen inquiries about city business; maintaining the municipal code; conducting voter registration drives; notarizing documents; acting as archivist or city historian; processing public records requests and other duties as assigned.

How do I reach the City Clerk?

The Office of the City Clerk can be reached at (562) 801-4389.

What are the hours that the Office of the City Clerk is opened?

The City Clerk's Office hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Closed on Federal Holidays.

Can we obtain City records from the City Clerk?

Yes, the City Clerk manages all of the City's records as the city's official custodian of records.  Please visit the City Clerk's page 

What kind of records can the City Clerk provide?

Any record that belongs to the City including City Council, Redevelopment Agency, Housing Assistance Agency, Public Financing Authority and Water Authority are considered records of the City. The City Clerk does not maintain County, State or Federal records.

Under what legal provisions are records disclosed?

The Public Records Act is the law that contains all of the provisions under which records can and cannot be disclosed. (Government Code Section 6250).

What kinds of records are not disclosable?

As a general rule any record that is considered exempted under the California Public Records Act (GC Section 6250).

Is there a process by which to request a City record?

The process by which to request records in Pico Rivera is simple. You may request records by telephone, in writing, email or by visiting City Hall. Whichever method you use to request records from the City Clerk's Office, be as specific as you can relative to the records you are seeking and also provide a specific time frame associated with said request. Please bear in mind that the Clerk's Office has a 10 day window of time in which to determine if the records are to be released or if they are exempted. 

Process in short:

  • City Clerk receives request.
  • Within 10 working days a determination is made regarding whether or not records are subject to disclosure.
  • If records are to be disclosed, the departments of the subject matter of the request are asked to provide the information to the City Clerk.
  • If the records are exempted (meaning they will not be released) under the provisions of the California Public Records Act, a letter is sent to the requestor stating so.
  • If records are to be disclosed, the City Clerk collects the information received from the departments, assembles the information and contacts the requestor to inform them of the fee associated with said request.
  • Upon payment of fee, records are either mailed or left with City Clerk staff waiting to be picked up.

In every instance, the City Clerk staff will work with you to ensure you obtain what you need in a timely manner. The City Clerk will also offer the option for you to make an appointment and inspect records in the City Clerk's Office prior to staff making copies of said records if these can be released.

Are birth Certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and other vital records available through the City Clerk’s Office in Pico Rivera?

No, this is a function of the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder- County Clerk's Office in Norwalk. Their telephone number is (562) 462-2137.

Is there a fee for copies of city records? If so what is it?

The fee associated with records is $1.00 for the first page and 20 cents per page thereafter. However, for documents related to Campaign Disclosures under the Political Reform Act, the charge is 10 cents per page.

When are elections held in Pico Rivera?

Elections in Pico Rivera are held in odd-numbered years and in accordance with established City ordinances and other legal provisions. Elections are held in staggered terms, meaning that every two years in the odd-numbered years, there are either two or three seats up for reelection. For example:

  • Council Members elected November 2015 will be up for reelection in November 2019 (Three open seats for four year-terms)
  • Council Members elected November 2013 will be up for reelection in November 2017 (Two open seats for four year-terms)

How many years are City Council members in Pico Rivera elected for and how are they elected?

Council members in Pico Rivera are elected at-large meaning we do not have elections by district and they are elected to serve four-year terms.

Does Pico Rivera have term limits for members of the City Council?

Pico Rivera does not have term limits for members of the City Council.

How do I reach a member of the City Council?

In Pico Rivera all contact with the City Council including requests for appointments are handled through the City Council's Executive Assistant who can be reached at (562) 801-4371.

How do I find out about an upcoming election in Pico Rivera?

The City Clerk by law is required to post a "Notice of Election" both in English and Spanish in a newspaper of general circulation such as the Whittier Daily News within specified time frames to give notice to the citizens. Further, the City's website will also have this information and once the process of nominations begins, there will be further and frequent notices in the City's Profile Newsletter that is disseminated to every Pico Rivera household.

What are legal requirements to run for a seat on the City Council in Pico Rivera?

You must be a city resident, be at least 18 years of age and be a registered voter of the City of Pico Rivera at the time you file your paperwork.

How can a person run for office?

You must contact the City Clerk's Office for specific information. However, there is a very specific process you must follow and meet certain requirements in order to be a candidate for office.

Is Pico Rivera a passport issuing location?

No, we are not. You may wish to visit your local post office to obtain a passport.

Where do I go to obtain a passport in Pico Rivera?

Main post office located at 6320 Passons Boulevard.

How do I register to vote?

You may do so by stopping by City Hall and picking up a registration form that you can mail in or you may visit your local post office to obtain a registration form or you may visit the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder- County Clerk's Office in Norwalk and do so in person. They are located at 12400 Imperial Highway, in Norwalk. You may also register to vote at the local DMV. In any event, voter registration is handled by the Los Angeles County Office of the Registrar-Recorder County Clerk. This is not a City function.

How do I know if I am registered to vote in Pico Rivera?

You may contact the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder- County Clerk's Office in Norwalk. If you have access to the internet, you may check your voter registration card by logging onto: their telephone number is (562) 462-2137.

How do I find my polling place during an election in Pico Rivera?

By calling the City Clerk's Office at (562) 801-4390 or by visiting

Who may register to vote?

You may register to vote if you are a U.S. Citizen, a California resident, not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony and you must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the election.

When do I need to re-register to vote?

You must re-register to vote if you have changed your residence or mailing address; or have changed your name; or you wish to change your political party affiliation.

How do I request an item to be included in a future City Council agenda?

Members of the public may request an item be placed on a City Council agenda by submitting a written request to the Office of the City Manager 30 days in advance of the proposed City Council meeting stating the reason why your items needs to go on a formal City Council agenda. Include as much information as possible and provide reference material if available. The City Manager has final authorization on such requests.

When are the City Council agendas posted on-line?

Agendas are posted in accordance with and in compliance with Brown Act requirements, meaning that agendas for regularly held City Council meetings are posted at least 72 hours before the meeting.  In Pico Rivera, the City Council agenda is posted on Thursday or Friday afternoon the week prior to the upcoming meeting.  Agenda outlines are posted at City Hall on the bulletin board on the west entrance, at the main post office, Pico Park, Smith Park, and Rivera Park.  Full agenda packets can be viewed on-line and can be found in the City Clerk's webpage or you can stop by the City Clerk's Office, located within City Hall to view the agenda packet.   

How come the agendas, and minutes are not translated into Spanish?

While we understand the desire for citizens to have the agendas and minutes in Spanish, there is no legal or statutory requirement to do so. Therefore, we will continue to have these documents available in English only.

When are the City Council minutes available for viewing by the public?

As soon as they are approved at the next City Council meeting.

What City Commissions does Pico Rivera have?

The City has three main commissions, Planning, Parks and Recreation and Sister City Commissions.

How can I apply to be on a City Commission?

During the recruitment period you may submit an application for consideration for appointment to a City Commission. The terms of office of the current Commissioners expire as follow:

  • Planning Commissioners- Serve two-year terms-current terms expire December 2017
  • Parks & Recreation Commissioners-Serve one-year terms-current terms expire December 2016
  • Sister City Commissioners-Serve Two-year terms-current terms expire December 2017

How often are there recruitments for vacancies on City Commissions?

Recruitments occur two months prior to the expiration of the current terms as well as when there are unexpected vacancies due to resignations etc. Recruitment notices are published in the Whittier Daily News (legal ads) as well as posted on the City's website and on the City's bulletin boards outside City Hall east and west entrances. Additionally, the City’s newsletter the Profile will have information as well. 

Further, the Office of the City Clerk accepts applications on a continuous basis, which are kept on file for a period of one year from the time submitted. Should there be any vacancies during the time your application stays on file, you will receive consideration for an appointment.

Is Pico Rivera using streaming video so that I can view the City Council meeting on line?

Not currently. However, we are in the process of updating our technology to be able to provide this service. City Council meetings are available online two days after the original broadcast.  Also, City Council Meetings are re-broadcasted the next day on the City's Cable Channel CTV3 at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily.

Are City Hall facilities handicapped accessible for individuals with special challenges?

Yes, to access the Council Chambers use the west side entrance of City Hall which is wheel chair accessible via ramp.

Does the City Clerk provide attentive listening devices for those that are hearing impaired?

Yes, please contact the City Clerk prior to your attendance or upon entering the Council Chamber you may request a device from staff.

How do I address the City Council at a meeting?

When you enter the Council Chamber, please see the staff person at the back table and ask to be given a public speaker card. In Pico Rivera we use a color coded system for public speakers as follows: use or request a yellow card to offer comments on items that are on the public hearing section of the agenda. Use a green card to offer comments on other items whether on the agenda or not.

Please visit the City Council meetings webpage found within the City Clerk's webpage. 

How much time do I have to address the City Council?

By way of City resolution, every speaker has three (3) minutes to offer public comments.

How do I obtain an audio of a City Council meeting and what is the associated fee?

Because audio tapes are becoming obsolete, the City Clerk's Office no longer provides these. However, copies of DVDs of City Council meetings are available upon request for a fee of $5.00 each.

What is the municipal code?

The municipal code is nothing more than a compilation of all the laws passed in the form of Ordinances by the City Council that are codified by titles and divided into subject matter.  It can be viewed on-line through the City Clerk's Office on the City website.  You can also purchase a copy of the entire municipal code for $55.00. 

Are campaign disclosure statements posted on the Pico Rivera’s website?

Not at the present time. However, we are looking to institute a process for on-line regular postings of these materials.

How do I file a complaint about a City situation, concern or issue?

By writing, calling or stopping by City Hall.

Who accepts claims against the City of Pico Rivera?

The Office of the City Clerk accepts and processes the claims.

Who accepts subpoenas for the City of Pico Rivera?

The Office of the City Clerk accepts subpoenas. Please note that the City Clerk does not process or initiates any action on these matters. We simply collect the subpoena and pass it along to the respective parties involved and our legal counsel.

When was the City of Pico Rivera incorporated?

The City of Pico Rivera was incorporated on January 29, 1958.

What form of government does Pico Rivera have? And what kind of City is Pico Rivera?

Pico Rivera is a General Law City, meaning that state law describes the city's form of

Government. For example, Government Code section 36501 authorizes general law cities be governed by a city council of five members, a city clerk, a city treasurer, a police chief, a fire chief and any subordinate officers or employees as required by law. City electors may adopt ordinance which provides for a different number of council members. Cal. Gov't section 34871. The Government Code also authorizes the "city manager" form of government. Cal. Gov’t Code § 34851.