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Records-County Clerk

The county clerk serves as the custodian of a wide variety of records which are required to be filed and maintained in the office of the county clerk.  Some of these documents are required to be filed and maintained in the office of the county clerk so that members of the public may verify certain information of public concern.  The maintenance of these records is one of the most important duties of the county clerk, as the county clerk’s office serves as one of the information centers for the county.  Some of the many records maintained in the office of the county clerk are discussed below.

In all national, state, and most local elections, the County Election Commission files one copy of its certificate of election returns in the office of the county clerk immediately after the election.  The county clerk must provide a receipt acknowledging that the documents have been filed in the county clerk’s office.  T.C.A. § 2-8-106.

After an election to abolish a city charter, if the majority of voters approve “no charter” the election commissioners are required to make triplicate certificates of the election, filing one with the original petition with the county clerk.  When all certificates have been duly filed, the corporation becomes extinct.  If the majority votes for the “charter,” the commissioners make only one return which is filed with the county clerk with the original petition to abolish the charter.  T.C.A. § 6-52-205.

Copies of a proposed metropolitan charter are filed by the charter commission with the county clerk and other designated officials.  The proposed charter must be open to public inspection by any interested person.  T.C.A. § 7-2-105.  The election returns are sent by the election commission to the Secretary of State, who issues a proclamation of the adoption or rejection of the proposal.  One copy is sent to the county clerk who attaches it to the copy of the proposed charter.  If the charter was adopted, the clerk delivers the county clerk’s copy of the charter and proclamation to the officer of the new government as the charter may direct.  T.C.A. § 7-2-106.

Before a local bar association can receive a copy of each year’s acts of the General Assembly for its library, the county clerk must certify the name and address of the association to the Secretary of State.  In the event the association ceases to exist or to maintain a law library, all copies of the acts are to be turned over to the county clerk.  T.C.A. § 12-6-102.

Pedigree books are maintained by the county clerk for registering the pedigree of jacks or bulls used for public breeding.  The registrant makes an oath that the pedigree is genuine.  T.C.A. § 44-7-301.

County indigent institution records of vouchers for expenditures and books of accounts are examined by the county mayor at the end of each year.  If the vouchers are approved, they are filed in the county clerk’s office and preserved in separate files.  T.C.A. § 71-5-2208.

Counties are authorized to make appropriations to assist charities.  Any charity desiring financial assistance must file an annual report, including a copy of its annual audit, its program which serves the residents of the county, and the proposed use of the county assistance, with the county clerk.  Instead of the annual audit, the organization may file an annual report detailing all receipts and expenditures.  The report must be prepared and certified by the chief financial officer of the organization. T.C.A. § 5-9-109.

General contractors are no longer required to record their licenses in the office of the county clerk, but the county clerk can obtain a roster of licensed contractors from the state board of licensing contractors by requesting the same in writing. T.C.A. § 62-6-110.  Veterinarians also are no longer required to record their licenses in the county clerk’s office. T.C.A. § 63-12-118, repealed.  The requirement that real estate brokers file a bond with the county clerk has also been repealed. T.C.A. § 62‑13‑306, repealed.  The former duties of the county clerk in filing contractors’ bonds to discharge mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens were transferred to the register of deeds effective in 1994. T.C.A. § 66-11-142.

County clerks are required to index the records in their offices, and to cross-index records pertaining to more than one party. T.C.A. § 10-7-201.  Records must be open to public inspection during business hours (T.C.A. § 10-7-503), and copies may be made of any public record. T.C.A. § 10-7-506.

The county legislative body is authorized to have the record books of the county clerk rebound in order to preserve them and keep them in proper condition. T.C.A. § 10-7-119.  During the rebinding of these records, the liability of the county clerk on his or her official bond for the proper safekeeping of such books is suspended. T.C.A. § 10-7-120.