Tuesday, February 20, 2024

INTERESTING FOLKS: Donna Zilberfarb, Frelinghuysen’s Town Clerk – Named to National Honor Roll

Donna Zilberfarb, the municipal clerk of Frelinghuysen Township, has been named to the Municipal Clerk’s Honor Roll, a national recognition of town clerks throughout the United States.

Zilberfarb was one of 217 municipal clerks to be honored and one of only 36 nationwide to receive two or more nominations.

“I’m very honored to have been nominated,” Zilberfarb said. While she knows one those nominating her was Frelinghuysen Mayor Keith Ramos, she does not know the identity of the other two, who requested anonymity when they nominated her.

The Municipal Clerk’s Honor Roll is sponsored by General Code, a consultancy organization that helps municipalities organize and maintain local government records and documents. The Honor Roll was created in 2001.

Zilberfarb has worked for Frelinghuysen Township for the past 16 years and was named municipal clerk in 2017. Before that she held several other municipal government positions in Frelinghuysen and Green Township, Sussex County.

Ramos said he nominated Zilberfarb because is knows just how challenging the job of a municipal clerk is and that she makes town business hum along smoothly.

“It’s a tough job, more than a lot of people know,” Ramos said. “There is a lot of responsibility for a clerk and a lot of people depend on her.”

While many larger cities and towns have entire staffs dedicated to the office of the clerk, in smaller municipalities the clerk is frequently one of a handful—if not the only—people managing local government business.

Basically, while elected officials may make the decisions regarding a town, it’s the clerk who makes those decisions happen.

The clerk is the custodian of all town records including government meeting minutes, deeds, bonds and contracts among myriad other documents.

In addition, the clerk oversees elections in a municipality and handles marriage licenses, birth and death certificates. Even dog licenses in many towns.

To become a clerk, a candidate must undergo a rigorous training program and pass the Registered Municipal Clerk’s test given by the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services. They usually must serve an apprenticeship in local government before being named.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.