Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Clerk Returns to Post after 4 Years; Mary Mercer, 53, Has Some New Ideas and Goals for the Fernandina Beach Position

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Clerk Returns to Post after 4 Years; Mary Mercer, 53, Has Some New Ideas and Goals for the Fernandina Beach Position

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY HURST

FERNANDINA BEACH - Mary Mercer looked comfortable as she sat in the city clerk's chair at the City Commission meeting Oct. 17. That's because she's been in that chair before.

Mercer, 53, returned to the job Oct. 13 after working for the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections office for four years. She was city clerk from December 2000 to May 2002. Before that, she was deputy clerk since the early 1990s.

"I wasn't going to apply for the job but when no staff applied, I started getting phone calls from city residents asking me to apply," she said. "So I did. I got thinking about having grown up here and how much I really care about the looks, the people and the growth of the city."

She already has her goals in mind.

"The most important thing is to get the ordinances codified," she said. "That takes time, but it must be done."

She is also working on records management at the storage center, where a number of records will be destroyed after they are preserved by scanning them into the city's computer system. Once those documents are scanned, all city staff will have access to them. State law requires hard copies of different types of records be kept for varying amounts of time, depending on the record.

Many records have already been scanned into the city's computer system so they can be more easily retrieved.

"And part of this is to determine the documents of historical importance so we can donate them to the Amelia Island Museum of History," she said.

She also has plans for her staff of three who she said has done a great job for more than a year without a permanent city clerk. Previous City Clerk Cassandra Mitchell was fired in December after she inadvertently released all city employees' Social Security numbers in responding to a public records request.

Mercer wants to send her staff to records management seminars offered by the Florida Secretary of State. …

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