Though newly-elected City Clerk Debra Devitt just took office Nov. 24, she is certainly not new to the City or to the Clerk’s office. She brings a great deal of experience to her new position.
For the past four years she has served as the deputy clerk to previous City Clerk Patricia (Trish) Gearhart, who announced in June that she would be retiring and not seeking re-election.
Gearhart served her final day on Nov. 23. That is also the day that Devitt, along with other newly elected city officials, were sworn in.
The new clerk is excited about her position, even though she feels she has huge shoes to fill.
Devitt has many years of experience with the City of Trenton. She began working part-time in the Records Bureau at the Police Department. She was then hired at the Clerk’s Office and served as a secretary to current Mayor Kyle Stack when she was City Clerk. When Trish Gearhart became clerk four years ago, she appointed Devitt to the deputy clerk position. She feels her experience with both clerks will help her greatly in her new position.
“I feel fortunate that both Kyle and Trish have been excellent mentors,” she said.
Like Gearhart, Devitt is a Certified Municipal Clerk, having taken part in a three-year educational program. She was certified in May of 2014. Devitt was also certified by the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks in July of 2014.
Devitt chose Trenton resident Kerri DeBiasi as her deputy clerk. Her appointment was approved by City Council and DeBiasi also was sworn in Nov. 23.
Devitt enjoys working in the Clerk’s office because it is a non-partisan position. Clerks are elected officials, but they do not vote during City Council meetings. Instead, they are the keeper of the records. They take the minutes during council meetings and maintain public records in the City Clerk’s office, such as birth records, death records, dog licenses, City Council minutes and other documents. The City Clerk’s office also keeps record of residents who are registered to vote and runs city elections.
Devitt enjoys the election process, and is looking forward to a busy 2016 with three elections scheduled. She is excited to see what new election equipment the State of Michigan will choose for 2017.
“I hope the new equipment will make it easier for people who need assistance with the voting process,” she said. Currently, they encourage any residents needing assistance with voting to vote absentee because the current equipment does not address those needs.
Devitt, a current Trenton resident, grew up in Woodhaven. She is married to Mike Devitt and has three children. Daughters Lindsey and Chelsea are Trenton High graduates. Son Michael is currently a senior at Trenton High.
While she will be working more hours, especially at the beginning of her term, her family is understanding. “My family is very supportive,” she said.
While the officeholder of the City Clerk is changing, one thing will not, according to Devitt.
“I look forward to continuing the tradition of providing excellent customer service to our residents.”