The City of Toronto has hired a new permanent city clerk.

John Elvidge assumed the role of interim city clerk in October 2020 after former clerk Ulli Watkiss stepped down.

In a statement Wednesday, the city said that council has unanimously approved hiring him to a permanent role following a comprehensive recruitment process.

"Throughout his career, John has shown true leadership, resilience and fortitude,” City Manager Chris Murray said in a statement. “With an openness to innovation and an encyclopaedic knowledge of governance, I am confident John will continue to make an impact on members of council, the Toronto Public Service and Toronto residents."

Elvidge and his team have led the continued delivery of virtual council and committee meetings over the past six months. He also oversaw the Scarborough-Agincourt by-election in January.

Mayor John Tory also praised Elvidge and said he has done an “excellent job.”

"On behalf of city council, I want to congratulate John Elvidge on his appointment as Toronto's new city clerk,” Tory said. “He and his team have done an excellent job ensuring city council can continue to meet and make decisions during this unprecedented time. We trust he will continue to do a tremendous job through the end of this pandemic and beyond."

The city clerk’s office generally serves as a bridge between the vast bureaucracy of city hall, its elected officials and the public. The city clerk advises council and committees on matters of protocol and is also responsible for administering municipal elections.

While the clerk himself does not generally have any political power to exercise, his or her decisions can become important in some city matters, particularly around elections.

For example, Elvidge’s predecessor Ulli Watkiss was the one to declare former councillor Jim Karygiannis’ seat vacant after finding he overspent on his 2018 campaign expenses. Karygiannis launched a lengthy legal process to challenge the decision, which was ultimately upheld by the courts.

Elvidge joined the city in 1990 and has had a number of roles over the past three decades, including cultural affairs officer and manager of corporate policy. He was appointed deputy city clerk, secretariat in 2007.

He holds a degree in Canadian Public Policy & Administration.

Elvidge’s appointment to the permanent role will be effective as of April 9.