Clerk Spotlight: City of Ferndale, MI
Behind every successful government is a clerk keeping it all together through technology and cross-department collaboration.
Ferndale, Michigan, is a suburb of the Detroit metropolitan area with a population of approximately 20,000 residents. Marne McGrath, the subject of our clerk spotlight, describes Ferndale as the kind of place that simply feels like home. With guiding principles that emphasize progressiveness, equity, sustainability, and resilience (which has been in high demand throughout the past year) Marne has called Ferndale home for the past 20 years.
Marne started in the department as a part-time employee doing records retention when the clerk at that time saw potential in her. The rest, as they say, is history. Marne was appointed deputy city clerk in 2009 and city clerk in 2015. She has served in the Ferndale city clerk’s office for 15 years and is a member of an array of professional organizations that include the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, the Safe Healthy and Secure Election Advisory Council to implement COVID-related voting safe protocols, and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. She spends her spare time volunteering for the Ferndale shelter and the barn sanctuary in Chelsea, Michigan. Marne also enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling.
In this clerk spotlight, Marne discusses the City of Ferndale’s challenging—but successful—transition to a remote work environment and the city’s dedication to providing excellent, consistent customer service throughout the public health crisis and beyond. To comply with the Open Meetings Act, the City of Ferndale utilized Zoom and Granicus’s govMeetings streaming video software to conduct virtual meetings. Marne also explains how the govMeetings Boards and Commissions solution has simplified the board’s application and selection process dramatically from an administrative perspective. The city’s communications team uses govDelivery to promote vacancies and the process has become much more transparent for Ferndale’s engaged residents. Lastly, Marne discusses how govMeetings Peak transformed the way the city handles its agenda creation and management process. Rather than having to create each agenda from scratch—which was the old method—every department creates its own agenda items, leaving Marne to manage things with minimal effort on the backend.
“Granicus, in my mind, is the industry standard for agenda management and streaming video software. The boards and commissions solution was a total game-changer for us and the integration with Peak [for agenda management] was seamless. We reviewed a lot of products and found Granicus to be the best solution.”
— Marne McGrath, CMC, MiPMC, City Clerk, Ferndale, MI