March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Lansing City Clerk awarded top honor in the field

Friday, July 1 — Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope is the best in the state at what he does.

The Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, a statewide organization representing clerks in Michigan’s smallest villages to the biggest cities, says so. The association annually awards the best city, township and village clerks in the state.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero declared June 27 “Chris Swope Day” in the city during the City Council’s meeting Monday night.

“We are certainly proud of Chris Swope and the job he has done,” Bernero said Monday during a presentation. “It’s not an easy thing. We take it for granted when we go out and vote. All these (election) things seem to go on seemingly seamlessly.”

Swope’s job includes overseeing elections; keeping City Council meeting minutes and setting agendas; and issuing various licenses and permits. The MAMC’s website lists past City Clerk of the Year winners since 1986 and this is the first time Lansing’s has took home the honor.

State Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, also spoke during Monday’s tribute.

“One of the most important things in democracy is to know our elections are fair, honest and well-run,” she said. “We’re lucky in the city of Lansing and Ingham County to have a clerk like Chris Swope who does such an exceptional job.”

A resolution recognizing Swope says: “Mr. Swope has completely catapulted the Lansing City Clerk’s Office into the 21st Century by enhancing the City’s website, implementing a listserv for the City Council’s agendas and minutes, and accomplished a system for posting fully City Council packets to the internet for Lansing’s residents.”

The resolution also says Swope has “doubled the number of voters on the permanent absentee voter list” and rearranged precincts to lower the number from 62 to 43.

Swope took office in 2006 after serving five years as an Ingham County Commissioner. He also worked as a policy analyst in the state Senate and as an administrator in the state House. Swope also was executive director of the gay rights organization Michigan Equality before it merged with the Triangle Foundation to form Equality Michigan. Swope was the first openly gay elected official in Lansing.

Swope told City Pulse in May that he is “keeping his options open” on a bid to run for Ingham County Clerk in 2012. County Clerk Mike Bryanton said then that he had not decided if he will seek re-election.