Principle of Lagniappe defines City’s Secretary’s Office

Several weeks ago, a panic-stricken young woman rushed into the City’s Secretary’s Office at city hall and demanded her birth certificate. Not next week, not tomorrow, not even later that day. She needed it NOW.

Deputy Local Registrar Faye Scott calmed the frantic visitor, but soon determined that the birth certificate wasn’t filed in our office. As the young woman again started to panic, Faye quickly researched where the certificate was located, and within minutes, provided the contact information. Faye also gave her additional information she needed about the Social Security Office. The relieved young woman promptly departed to complete her mission.

A few days later, Faye received a note in the mail. The young woman wrote:

“Sometimes, we as humans reach a point of frustration, and you gave me hope. The way you treated me as not only a customer, but also as a part of your family, that you were willing to help out as much as possible, I cannot express how much that meant to me, especially under the circumstances. You are a true treasure in your field, and a gem amongst human beings.” 

What a wonderful impact Faye had on this person’s life! And in the process, she created tremendous good will for the City of College Station. Each member of our office excels at customer service and strives to apply the principle of lagniappe —  giving a little extra effort just for good measure.

I doubt anyone grows up wanting to be a city secretary, but as a 4th-generation public servant, I’ve discovered that it’s not just a job – it’s a calling. I genuinely love serving the citizens of College Station and making a small difference in their lives. Isn’t that something we all want — for things to run so smoothly that you don’t think much about it?

As we observe Municipal Clerks Week across the nation this week, I’m reminded of the many reasons I love my job. Here are four of my favorites:

  1. Processing open records requests as quickly and efficiently as I can with a smile;
  2. Having an election go off without a hitch, knowing I serve an important role in the democratic process;
  3. Locating a file for a department head and then seamlessly returning to whatever I was doing;
  4. Staying abreast of new technology, records management, and legislative changes so I can be the best I can be for my organization and my community.

Texas municipal clerks passionately uphold a Code of Ethics recognizing our responsibilities to the people. We want to inspire public confidence and respect for municipal government with the belief that honesty, integrity, loyalty and courtesy form the basis of ethical conduct.

That’s why I love being a City Secretary.

Sherry Mashburn

College Station City Secretary Sherry Mashburn serves as treasurer of the Texas Municipal Clerks Association and is one of only 24 city secretaries in Texas certified as a master municipal clerk.  She came to College Station in 2010 with more than 20 years of experience in municipal government.

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