The City Clerk's Office is responsible for keeping the records of the City of Kankakee. Records considered permanent have to be kept forever and the minutes of each council meeting fall in that category. The original minutes of the meetings are hand written in beautiful script in leather bound volumes and date back to the incorporation of the city in 1855. It truly gives one a sense of tradition to stand in the vault and be surrounded by the history of the city as developed by the City Council. Other documents such as committee meeting minutes, agreements, contracts, maps and other documents germane the operation of a municipality need to be kept for a shorter period of time. However, no records may be destroyed without the approval of a representative from the Local Records Commission of the State of Illinois. In order to keep the amount of paper stored at a reasonable level, we have a regularly scheduled procedure for record disposal.
Additionally, the City Clerk's Office handles the mechanics of setting the agenda for each Council Meeting. The format of the agenda has been set by ordinance. A skeleton agenda follows. To have an issue put on the agenda, such issue needs to be brought to the City Clerk's Office - usually by your alderman - by Wednesday evening preceding the Council meeting. This request will be reviewed by his/her Honor - the Mayor - and approve for the agenda or otherwise dispatched in an appropriate manner. Each department head has the option of presenting an issue for the Council to act upon. Most issues that are on the agenda are substantiated by documents explaining the issue fully. These documents are compiled in individual books for the Mayor, each alderman, the department heads and the attorneys and delivered on Friday afternoon preceding the council meeting. This enables the lawmakers to be well versed in the issues on which they will have to vote.
Although the members of the Council are regulated as to how often and how long they can speak on each issue, the terms are so generous, the rules are almost never invoked. If a non-council member wishes to speak, the following procedure needs to be followed. An alderman moves to allow the person to speak and after the motion is duly seconded, ten alderman (2/3 majority of the members) need to vote aye.
The City Clerk's Office is responsible for proper disposition of all ordinances, resolution and proclamations passed at the Council meeting. Any other document that needs attention as a result of Council action will be handled appropriately by this office.
In addition to these duties, the City Clerk's Office handles stickers for amusement machines, licenses for cigarette and tobacco products, coin-operated machines, waste haulers and itinerant merchants/peddlers. One of the conditions for receiving a temporary permit to sell goods in the City of Kankakee is the satisfactory results of a background check.
Organizations wishing to hold a fund raiser/tag day need to make application for approval to the City Council. Only organizations who have a local contact are granted this privilege.
Finally, this office is a source of information - citizens frequently call needing phone numbers of utility companies or asking for information about the County or the Court House. Though the Clerk has no voting privilege, the function of this office in an integral part of the City government.