NORTH ADAMS — He will be new to the position, but not to the office.
Assistant City Clerk Marcus Lyon is taking over as city clerk. He officially was appointed to the position by the City Council on Wednesday evening, and he will be sworn in Friday afternoon.
“Cathleen King and I, we have really made a lot of improvements as far as efficiency and modernizing this office. I want to continue to do that,” Lyon told The Eagle. “And I really am looking forward to continuing to work with the residents of North Adams as well. It’s something I really enjoy.”
Lyon replaces King, who, after about 10 months as city clerk, is leaving her post for a marketing position at 1Berkshire.
Three people applied for the city clerk position, and “only one was qualified and was an internal candidate,” City Council President Lisa Blackmer said during a council meeting last week.
“I also know that when we searched for the clerk before we hired Ms. King,” Blackmer added, “we interviewed a lot of people and we kept running into ‘salary is not high enough, the vacation is not enough time, I can’t take my vacation soon enough,’ so, I was really happy we had a qualified candidate in the mix.”
All eight councilors present Wednesday voted to appoint Lyon as clerk, but Jennifer Barbeau and Marie Harpin said they had issues with the process. Barbeau voted yes, adding, “with note of concern to the process.” Harpin offered a similar comment when she voted.
“Although I have great confidence in Marcus Lyon as our next City Clerk,” Harpin said in a follow-up email, “I found the process to be completed quickly with little information provided to the Council.”
With Lyon’s promotion, there also is a new assistant city clerk. Joshua Tassone was appointed to that position at the same meeting Wednesday. Ten people applied for that job, according to Blackmer.
So, what does the city clerk’s office do? Among other responsibilities, it is in charge of handing vital records — think birth and marriage certificates — running city elections, issuing business licenses, registering voters and conducting a city census, Lyon said.
“We are the keepers of all records for the city,” he said.
Lyon, who is from the Berkshires, has worked in the city clerk’s office since May 2021. He is finishing his bachelor’s degree in business administration online, he said.
As clerk, Lyon hopes to continue efforts to modernize the office. During the past year, the office has started accepting credit cards, “which was never the case before,” he said.
Creating licenses for taxis, for example, entails using a photocopier and a glue stick.
“It’s really elementary,” Lyon said. “It’s not a great system.”
This past summer, the City Council approved $16,000 for a new digital record-keeping software system that was meant to help move the office out of what one councilor called “the Stone Age.”
Typewriters still are used for some tasks, like putting information on City Council papers after a meeting, Lyon said. “My ultimate goal is to get rid of those [typewriters] in their entirety.”