Congratulations to our 2021 Clerk of the Year, Clerks of Distinction, and Pat Hammers Spirit Award Recipients!

Watch the video presentation of the
Pat Hammers Spirit Award and Municipal Clerks of the Year (YouTube).

Municipal Clerk of the Year - Patrice M. Olds, City Clerk, City of San Mateo

Patrice Olds, Municipal Clerk of the Year

Nominated by San Mateo Mayor Eric Rodriguez and San Bruno City Clerk Melissa Thurman and with the support of her Deputy, Joan Diskin and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award our Immediate Past President and the City Clerk of San Mateo, Patrice M. Olds, as the 2021 Municipal Clerk of the Year.

Throughout her nomination letters, Patrice is described as a woman who is loved by her colleagues, a servant and selfless leader, a lady with grace and dignity, an advocate for the profession, and the person who keeps the “City with a heart” beating.

In 2020, Patrice served as the Association President, having already served in numerous other leadership positions, including Treasurer. During her presidency, Patrice initiated our first Strategic Plan, identifying Education, Communication, and Governance as top priorities. Just weeks away from her Annual Conference, Patrice was faced with the tough decision of whether to cancel her conference due to the emerging global pandemic. Always analytical, always thoughtful, Patrice decided to prioritize the health and safety of our members and canceled the event. Although disappointed, but undeterred, Patrice quickly and creatively found a way to honor the Municipal Clerk of the Year and Clerks of Distinction by livestreaming the award ceremony.

Patrice is also recognized for being the first to bring Athenian Leadership Dialogues to California and for serving as a facilitator and mentor to new facilitators. In addition, Patrice serves as a core trainer for the Master Municipal Clerk Academy having trained hundreds of California clerks over the past 11 years.

In addition to her normal work duties, Patrice also carries the torch for a number of important and unique relationships for the City. Patrice serves as the liaison between San Mateo and their Sister City in Japan. She coordinates their youth baseball exchange program and helped to create the high school ambassador exchange program. Patrice was also instrumental in the 50th Anniversary of the Sister City relationship by coordinating a weekend-long celebration for over 50 Japanese delegates.

Ever since the Vietnam War, the City of San Mateo has been the adoptive City of the 327th Infantry Unit of the U.S. Army. Now, over 50 years later, Patrice continues the mission of never forgetting those who serve. She is responsible for spearheading many events for the adopted troops, including parades, care package creation events, and letter-writing campaigns. By order of the Secretary of the Army, Patrice Olds was presented with the distinguished award of “Honorary Member of the 327th Infantry Regiment.” Patrice is also working on the “Fallen Heroes Memorial” to recognize residents who died in armed conflicts while serving in the military and honoring San Mateo Police Officers and Fire Fighters who died in the line of duty.

For these and many more reasons, I am honored to name my friend, mentor, CCAC’s Great Servant Leader, and the City of San Mateo’s City Clerk, Patrice M. Olds, MMC, as the 2021 Municipal Clerk of the Year.

Municipal Clerk of the Year - Marc Donohue, City Clerk/Director of Communications, City of Eastvale

Marc Donohue, Municipal Clerk of the Year

Nominated by City Manager Bryan Jones, with the support of the entire City Council, with contributions from Angelica Zepeda, Talent Attraction and Development Manager, Amanda Wells, Finance Director, and Gina Gibson, Community Development Director and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award our very own Second Vice President and City Clerk of Eastvale, Marc Donohue, MMC, as the 2021 Municipal Clerk of the Year.

This year my conference theme is “freedom to be bold” which is a calling to all municipal clerks to seize new opportunities and to be of greater service to our organizations and communities when we can. No one embodied this theme better than Marc Donohue. As reflected in the nomination, Marc is described as a “Rock Star” and “Game Changer” who possesses the traits of a true public servant and demonstrates the values that the City holds in the highest regard: Kindness, Grit, and being Solutions-Driven.

In 2019, when the position of Public Information Officer became vacant, Marc expressed an interest in leading Eastvale’s Communications Department. Marc had already proven himself as a talented and capable City Clerk, so the City Manager gave him the opportunity to fill the role on an interim basis. After demonstrating his dedication, aptitude, results, and natural flair for the role, the City Manager quickly promoted Marc as Eastvale’s first City Clerk & Communications Director.

Marc has over 15 years of municipal government experience, a Bachelor of Science in Operations Management, earned his Master Municipal Clerk designation and recently obtained an Advanced Public Engagement Certificate from Pepperdine University’s Davenport Institute of Public Policy. At the same time, Marc serves as CCAC’s most active mentor, guiding numerous deputies towards their Certified Municipal Clerk designation, and served as a trainer for Technical Training for Clerks, at the University of California, Riverside. Marc also serves as the Association’s Second Vice President having already served as the Membership Director and Chair of the Membership and Inclusivity Committee. Marc is a caring father to his three young children, Richie, Zoey, and Liam, and a loving husband to Evelyn, a hospital nurse who has worked throughout the pandemic.

For these and many more reasons, I am honored to name my friend, and the City of Eastvale’s City Clerk & Director of Communication, Marc Donohue, as the 2021 Municipal Clerk of the Year.

Pat Hammers Spirit Award - Stephanie D. Smith, Retried City Clerk, City of Murrieta / Director of Election Services, Best Best & Krieger

Stephanie Smith, Pat Hammers Spirit Award

The Pat Hammers Spirit Award is awarded to a very special, amazing, passionate, and caring individual who has made a difference to so many colleagues and up-and-coming clerks through leadership, modeling, advocating for the profession, and sharing a truly caring spirit. This person has a big personality that carries so many along with them.

This award is about attitude, commitment, and overall presence in our clerk community. Stephanie Dee Smith, it is my pleasure to award you the prestigious Pat Hammer Spirit Award with a deep sense of gratitude for how you have been a leader for the clerks, always demonstrating your passion for clerkdom, for each individual in the field, and how you’ve advocated for all to take their place at the leadership table by modeling how that’s done. Your career of giving back through all your many leadership roles, through mentoring, through training, through coaching, and through your writing makes you a powerful difference-maker. You always have shown us that by striving to be all you can be, and fearlessly taking on your own journey, means that you can accomplish so much. Thank you for your passionate spirit.

2021 Deputy Clerk of the Year

Caitlin Saldanha
Deputy City Clerk, Napa

Nominated by Mayor Scott Sedgley, City Manager Steve Potter, and City Clerk Tiffany Carranza, and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award Deputy City Clerk of Napa, Caitlin Saldanha, as the 2021 Deputy Clerk of the Year

Caitlin is described as someone with a positive attitude, unparalleled work ethic, empathetic leader, and as a “go-to” person for the entire organization. Hired in 2019, Caitlin has quickly implemented the organization's first Public Records Act tracking system, was an integral player during the districting process and became the agenda management system expert and administrator. Caitlin serves as the staff supervisor, leads by example, and her staff responds to the high bar she sets for the office.

During the early stages of the pandemic, Caitlin brought forward the idea to create the “Napa Bear Hunt,” encouraging residents to place teddy bears in their windows as a scavenger hunt for the community’s children.

Therefore, it is my honor to name Caitlin Saldanha as the “CCAC Deputy Clerk of the Year.”

2021 Clerks of Distinction
Humanitarian/Good Samaritan Award

Celeste Cabrera-Garcia
City Clerk, Mendota

Nominated by Mayor Rolando Castro and City Manager Cristian Gonzalez, and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award, Celeste Cabrera-Garcia, with the 2021 Clerk of Distinction Award for Humanitarianism.

Celeste empathetic to the needs and financial constraints of her community offers notary services to the public at no cost. She does this by her own choice and makes time in her busy schedule for this accommodation. Through this service, she builds a stronger relationship with the community and exemplifies the municipal clerk profession in a real-world practical way. In addition, with COVID-19 creating financial burdens on many families leading up to the holiday season, Celeste was eager to find ways to help. She sought donations and developed a program to award grocery store vouchers to over 30 families in her community. Many parents and even more children were able to enjoy the holidays, in part, thanks to Celeste’s efforts.

Moreover, while Celeste continuously assists local non-profits in her professional capacity, she is also dedicated to volunteering with these organizations outside work hours. She is a strong believer in volunteerism and enjoys supporting these organizations in any way that she can.

Therefore, it is my honor to award Celeste Cabrera-Garcia with the CCAC Clerk of Distinction Award for Humanitarianism/Good Samaritan.

2021 Clerks of Distinction
Community Engagement

Caitlin Corley
City Clerk, Town of Colma

Nominated by City Manager Brian Dossey, and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award, Caitlin Corley, with the 2021 Clerk of Distinction Award for Community Engagement.

Prior to the pandemic, Caitlin was known for greeting seniors attending the City Council meetings with hugs, making sure they have their coffee, and the room temperature was comfortable for them. Once the pandemic began, Caitlin quickly learning the Zoom platform and reached out to many seniors to show them how to attend and participate in meetings.

In the 2018 and 2019 elections, Caitlin made the effort to promote voter registration and voluntarily set up booths at the community fair, National Night Out, and summer concerts. During the 2020 Presidential Election, Caitlin convinced the City Manager to allow for the installation of a permanent ballot drop-off box at City Hall. She decorated the box with American flags and used decorative sidewalk chalk to help residents navigate to the box.

Caitlin manages the City’s Twitter and Facebook page, pushing valuable information to the public on a regular basis. She regularly attends the County’s weekly PIO Pandemic Update meetings, ensuring Colma’s residents have the latest information.

Caitlin was also instrumental in the creation and naming of the City’s Disaster Preparedness Program called Community Action Plan for Emergencies and came up with its tagline “Be a Superhero for your Community,” until it was renamed Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Caitlin continues to manage the program enrollment. During the pandemic, Caitlin activated the CERT Team asking members to check on their neighbors and to assist seniors with getting groceries, medications, and other household supplies.

Therefore, it is my honor to award Caitlin Corely with the CCAC Clerk of Distinction Award for Community Engagement.

2021 Clerks of Distinction
Election Coordination & Voter Outreach Award

Meaghan Hassel-Shearer
City Clerk, Burlingame

Nominated by City Manager Lisa Goldman, and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award, Meaghan Hassel-Shearer, with the 2021 Clerk of Distinction Award for Elections Coordination and Voter Outreach.

After working in the San Mateo County Elections Office, in 2015, Meaghan started with the City of Burlingame. Immediately, Meaghan started working to educated local teenagers about the importance of voting. She coordinated events to pre-register eligible youth, coordinated tours of the County Elections Office and worked with the local Girls Scouts Troop to learn about ballot measures and the importance of voting.

Although having no ballot measures or candidates on the ballot, Meaghan designed an outreach campaign including social media postings, posters, stickers, and other giveaways to generate excitement for the 2020 Presidential Election. She ensured Burlingame has several ballot drop-off locations and worked at the City’s only Voter Assistance Center. Through her work at the Voting Center, Meaghan met a high school student interested in elections and City Government. That student is now Meaghan’s intern and assisting with the transition to District-based elections.

Meghan is also leading the City’s efforts to transition to District-based elections with the assistance of her part-time Administrative Assistance and student intern. She led the effort to hire the City’s demographic consultant, built the districting webpage, and developed collateral to educate the community about the process. She can also be found on Sunday mornings at the Farmer’s Market answering questions and encouraging residents to develop their own district maps.

Therefore, it is my honor to award Meghan Hassel-Shearer with the CCAC Clerk of Distinction Award for Election Coordination and Voter Outreach.

 2021 Clerks of Distinction
Organization, Communications, & Administration

Walfred Solorzano
City Clerk, East Palo Alto

Nominated by City Manager Jamie Fontes and Councilmember Antonio Lopez, and on behalf of the City Clerks Association of California, it is my distinct honor to award, Walfred Solorzano, with the 2021 Clerk of Distinction Award for Organization, Communication, and Administration.

Described as an empathetic and caring person, Walfred was called upon by his City Manager to lead massive improvements to the City Clerk’s Office upon his hiring in 2019. Walfred was instrumental in the development of the City’s Communications and Outreach Plan. The City now communicates to its residents via a bilingual Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Walfred used the new Communications Plan to assist in the Census process which helped the City reach a record number of census respondents. Walfred served as the project manager for the redesign of the City’s website and was able to stick to his ambitious timeline of six months, despite setbacks caused by the pandemic. During the pandemic, Walfred was able to take advantage of the closures by utilizing over a dozen employees who could not work from home to index more than 2,500 record boxes. During his tenure, Walfred launched the City’s first Agenda Management System and implemented NetFile for campaigns and statements of economic interest filings.

Therefore, it is my honor to award Walfred Solorzano with the CCAC Clerk of Distinction Award for Organization, Communications, and Administration.