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Jacksonville clerk named best in state 

by Jessica Wells, League Communications Specialist

The North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks honored Jacksonville City Clerk Carmen Miracle with the Clerk of the Year award at the annual summer conference in August. Miracle was surprised with the award at the banquet, which took place at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham.

“To know that my town nominated me and my peers in the association selected me from all of the other nominees was a shock and a surprise,” Miracle said.
This isn’t the first time she’s been surprised with a statewide honor though – in 2013, she was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine when Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips and a local former Marine of the Year nominated her for her work supporting veterans.

“I think people like to surprise me! They like to see me get emotional and cry,” she joked. “I really enjoy the work that we do, and I especially enjoy working with the veterans. That’s sort of my pet project.”

Miracle helps orchestrate the Veterans of the Year project, which includes a banquet and award program with the local Council of Veterans.

“To recognize what they’ve done for our country and attempt to do any little thing to recognize them means a lot to me,” she said.

Miracle is involved in a number of projects that serve the community in her role as clerk. She is the city’s Fair Housing Complaint Officer, Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, and she organizes the City Advisory Committee to chart priorities for the next five years.

In the past, she helped organize community events like the Annual Disabilities Award Banquet, National Night Out, Senior Expo, ADA Awareness, Special Olympics, JC Penney Golden Rule Award, North Carolina Advocacy Network Awards and more. She served as the city’s United Way coordinator for 10 years and worked closely with the Mayor’s Committee on the Handicapped.

"Going above and beyond her duties to help all individuals in need of services, Carmen continually helps to promote citizen awareness and understanding relative to the plight of individuals with disabilities," Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips said.

The city hired Miracle in 1998 as deputy city clerk, but quickly promoted her to city clerk in 1999 when the former clerk retired.

"I feel really blessed that the council and manager took a chance on me with only one year of experience," Miracle said. "It was the best day of my life when I came to work for the city, and I’ve been happy here for 17 years."

Shortly after beginning her career at the city, she became involved with the North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks. She earned her Certificate of Municipal Clerk designation in 2001 and the Master Municipal Clerk designation in 2007 from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. She led the organization as Region 1 District 2 Director for two consecutive terms, Secretary, Second Vice President, First Vice President and President.

"I think I’ve learned as much from other clerks as I have from the School of Government or from League programs. We share things with each other and help each other out constantly," Miracle said. "I have 300 or 400 clerks I can call on for help, and it’s a wonderful thing to have that network."

In addition, Miracle served on several of the organization’s committees including chair of the Program and Education Committee for two years. She’s also served as a member of the Site Selection, NCLM Community and Economic Development Policy, 2006 IIMC Region III Annual Conference Planning, Legislative, Scholarship, Website Review, and Clerk’s Reference Guide Update committees.

"It’s been the best experience I could have. I’ve worked with a lot of good mayors, managers, clerks, and committee members, so I haven’t ever really done anything by myself," Miracle said. "I don’t think you accomplish much all by yourself. You have to work with good people."