Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Perris City Clerk Catalogs History


Perris City Clerk Judy Haughney (left) and Deputy City Clerk Vicki Kasad review decades-old newspaper clippings about the City.

Locked inside an old bank vault in Perris City Hall lies a treasure trove of the community’s history.

It’s a place chockfull of decades-old photographs, resolutions, ordinances, minutes from meetings of the City Council dating back nearly 100 years since Perris was incorporated.

Most of the time the public doesn’t get the chance to view such historical documents.

But during an open house as part of Municipal Clerks Week, a portion of the City’s history will be on display for the public. The open house is scheduled for May 8, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Perris City Hall, 101 North D Street.

Municipal Clerks Week runs from May 3-9.
“We are the repository of City history but a lot of times people don’t get to see that history,” said City Clerk

The day the City Hall fountain froze over. One of the historic photos archived by the Perris City Clerk’s office.
The day the City Hall fountain froze over. One of the historic photos archived by the Perris City Clerk’s office..

Judy Haughney.  “We’re taking this opportunity to let the public see what sort of documents we catalogue and are giving them the chance to ask about our duties and responsibilities.”

In addition to archiving city records, municipal clerks administer elections, maintains minutes from city council meetings, affix official city documents with the city seal, processes contracts and agreements and prepare tax rolls, special assessments and budgets. The City Clerk serves as secretary to the Perris City Council, the Redevelopment Agency, Public Finance and Utilities Authority.

The Perris City Clerk’s office has taken on additional responsibilities in recent years even while transitioning from paper documents to electronic record keeping.

City Clerk Judy Haughney looks at historic City records stored inside an old bank vault at Perris City Hall
City Clerk Judy Haughney looks at historic City records stored inside an old bank vault at Perris City Hall.

The office now offers passport application to local residents, a service that began in 2006.

Haughney and Deputy City Clerk Vicki Kasad are in the process of electronically imaging thousands of paper documents. The City Clerk’s office works with Granicus, the streaming video program that airs City Council meetings and records votes for webcasting. City Council and Planning Commission meetings, minutes and agendas also are posted on the City’s website, www.cityofperris.org.

A quick glance through the Perris archives reveals old photographs, yellowing newspaper clippings, binders of minutes and agendas from meetings decades old. The City’s first ordinance, passed shortly after incorporation in 1911, set the time and location of the Board of Trustees (the predecessor of the City Council) regular meetings. Meetings were set on the  “1st Friday of each and every month at 8 p.m., in the front room of the Masonic Hall located in that certain brick building known as the Sharpless Block situated on D Street.”

Also on file is the 1913 ordinance to purchase City’s water system. Ordinance 31 prohibited gambling and gambling equipment inside Perris residences.

During the May 8 open house, Haughney and Kasad will be available to answer questions and assist on passport applications and notary public requests.

Municipal Clerks Week began in 1969 with the support of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. In 1984, President Reagan signed a proclamation declaring the first full week in May as Municipal Clerks Week. A decade later, President Clinton extolled the office of Municipal Clerk: “Municipal Clerks play a vital role in our Democracy. Offering their finely tuned skills to the process of American government, Clerks help to administer the laws and services that directly affect the daily lives of our citizens. More than that, these dedicated professionals play an instrumental role in maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire public sector. It is fitting that we pause to recognize those whose work every day to keep every level of government running smoothly.”