Rules for Missouri Townships
IV. Clerk powers and duties
Meeting attendance and minutes
The clerk must attend all board meetings, but has no vote on board decisions. The clerk must keep minutes of meetings and actions taken in a book the township provides. This is the township's official history, and it is admissible in any court proceeding. The clerk also buys, at township expense, such other books, forms and papers as may be needed (65.420-.450).
The clerk's tasks include posting notices of meetings, certifying levy rates adopted to the county clerk, notifying the election authority of upcoming elections, and making agendas and other notifications publicly available.
The clerk must also attest to the accuracy of records. For this, it is good to have a seal that confirms the official nature of such documents. (Generic seals are available at many office supply stores, and more expensive, custom-designed ones can be ordered.)
Clerks are both empowered and required to administer such oaths as may be necessary, either for transacting business or swearing in officials (65.410). State statutes specify that oaths are to be administered without charge (65.250).
The clerk is charged with maintaining all official records of the township and must have reasonable means to do this. Though most townships have neither an office nor funds to spare, a township should have a file cabinet, preferably fireproof, in which to retain records. Careless handling of paperwork has the potential to put the township at great liability. When a single claim of unpaid overtime can go back as far as five years, records retention is very important. The secretary of state's office will assist with records retention decisions upon request.
Custodian of records
The state open meetings and records laws require each political subdivision to formally appoint a custodian of records and to publicly post their name and contact procedures (610.023). (See sample PDF form.)
The deadline for responding to requests to review records is no later than the end of the third day following the request and sooner if possible. If immediate access is denied, a detailed explanation must be given. Denial of a request has to be given in writing within three days.
The township clerk usually serves as the custodian of records. The way townships are organized under the statutes, it would make little sense for anyone other than the clerk to be custodian, though another arrangement is not prohibited.