Former deputy promoted to clerk in St. Clair Shores


 Abrial Barrett is St. Clair Shores’ new city clerk following her appointment at the March 7 City Council meeting.

Abrial Barrett is St. Clair Shores’ new city clerk following her appointment at the March 7 City Council meeting.

Photo provided by Abrial Barrett

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Aiming for a smooth transition to continue providing  excellent service to the community, interim City Clerk Abrial Barrett, who has been in that position since the retirement of Mary Kotowski, has been named the new city clerk.

Barrett had four years of experience working as the deputy clerk in Columbus Township and another year as deputy clerk for the city of Birmingham before St. Clair Shores hired her for the same position in June 2021.

She said her goal was to become St. Clair Shores’ city clerk, although the promotion came much sooner than she expected.

“When I came to the city of St. Clair Shores, Mary expressed that she was looking to hire a deputy because she was planning a succession plan,” Barrett explained. “Mary was really open to teaching me a lot and making it a smooth transition, which was really helpful and, I think, set me up well for the position.”

The Harrison Township resident got a crash course in the job in November 2021 when Kotowski was ill during the general election.

“Mary was out with COVID during the November 2021 election, so I managed that and the office by myself, and everything went smoothly,” Barrett said.

Barrett she will be attending training to earn her municipal clerk certification and is also working on her master’s degree in public administration.

City Manager Matthew Coppler said more than 40 people applied for the position, but it was clear after Barrett’s interview that she was the best candidate for the job.

“When we appointed her as the deputy, we always thought that, someday, this would be where she would be at. It came a little quicker,” Coppler said March 7. “She presented herself very well, definitely has the experience that’s necessary to follow in some big shoes to fill.”

When Councilman Ron Frederick made the motion to appoint Barrett, he joked that it was for “tonight and for the next 25 years.” Kotowski served the city for 23 years.

Council members expressed their support for Barrett.

“Everyone has the overall confidence in you,” said Councilman Dave Rubello.

Barrett grew up in Harrison Township and spent a lot of time in the city of St. Clair Shores. She loves boating, fishing and other outdoor activities offered in the city, and she said she wants to help residents to the best of her abilities.

“I want to help make elections more transparent for the voters here and continue to bring the same level, if not higher, of quality of service that Mary brought,” she said. “I want to continue on with that.”


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