Employee Spotlight: Julie Gibbons Toledo's First Female Clerk of Council Since 1837

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

In a historic ceremony witnessed by colleagues, council members, family, and friends, Julie Gibbons took the oath of office on December 29, 2023, officially becoming the first female Clerk of Toledo City Council, breaking a tradition dating back to 1837.

Gibbons' path to this distinguished leadership role was far from typical. After earning her undergraduate degree in child psychology in 1982, she embarked on a successful career in real estate. Then, with two kids at home—a 3-year-old daughter and a 3-week-old son—she decided to pursue a law degree from the University of Toledo.

In 1998, District 2 Councilman Rob Ludeman offered her an opportunity to become the assistant manager of legislative operations. She seized it, ultimately rising to the position of assistant Clerk of Council.

“During this time, one of my professional highlights was the restoration work Barbara Floyd and I completed on significant historical documents. We collaborated with The Arts Commission to frame and display not only the original City Charter but also large design and planning documents in City Council Chambers. These documents tell a captivating story. To be able to preserve that history and share it with visitors to City Council is a very proud moment for me,” Gibbons said.

In addition to preserving the past, Gibbons played a role in bringing City Council into the future.

Beginning in 2012, Gibbons contracted with Legistar to record and post City Council meetings in real-time.

“Anyone, anywhere, can watch our council and committee meetings live and even comment through the website,” Gibbons said. “I want to continue to build on this platform so that everyone learns why we do what we do at this level. It is important to me that residents have the opportunity to follow city government and have their voices heard, whether they are present in City Council Chambers or commenting online from home.”

Gibbons credits her success to the guidance of her parents and the support from her children.

"Education has always played a crucial role in my life, and I firmly believe that regardless of your age, the pursuit of learning and the courage to ask questions should never stop,” Gibbons said. “My father instilled in me a deep appreciation for continuous learning, while my mother taught me to have the drive and confidence to pursue anything," Gibbons said.

Gibbons reflects on her historic journey with a sense of gratitude and accomplishment. “I am grateful for the unwavering support and love of my children. I know they are proud of me, and that makes me proud and happy," Gibbons said.

Looking to the future, Gibbons envisions a Toledo City Council that embraces modernization while respecting its rich history.

“We can modernize and make the process more accessible to our constituents while still respecting and preserving the rich history of the city of Toledo,” She said.

Her dedication and hard work culminated in her becoming the first woman to hold the position in over a century.

"I worked hard under the previous Clerk, Gerald Dendinger, for 25 years to learn and understand the position, so I feel I have really earned the position and feel confident in taking on the role," Gibbons said. "I hope my accomplishments in this role can help to further other women’s pursuits in important positions throughout the city and beyond."