DUTIES OF THE COUNTY CLERK

Duties. The county clerk has many important functions within the county government. The county clerk serves as clerk of the county legislative body in most counties, keeps the records of the county legislative body and sends required notices. The minutes of the county legislative body meetings are required to be promptly and fully recorded by the county clerk and are open to public inspection.
The county clerk collects business taxes, handles motor vehicle registration and licensing and collects county wheel taxes. Also, the county clerk issues marriage licenses, collects the state and any county privilege tax on marriage, and may solemnize a marriage. Since notaries public are elected by the county legislative body, the county clerk keeps a record of the notaries public in the county and has duties involving coordination between the secretary of state and the notary applicant.

County clerks have other miscellaneous licensing duties, including pawnbroker licensing, hunting and fishing licensing and others. In some counties, county clerks serve as clerks of court, the most common of which are juvenile and probate court. The county clerk’s office receives fees for these services. Tennessee Code Annotated § 8-21-701 is the basic county clerk's fee statute.

Other Matters. Since office management is an important aspect of the county clerk's responsibilities, county clerks should be familiar with both state and federal laws relating to personnel matters. Also, the county clerk should have a basic understanding of potential liability, including both personal liability and county liability, and of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act. Every county official should be familiar with the conflict of interest and disclosure laws applicable to their offices.