June 2019 Official Word


Official Word

June 2019

Volume 20, Issue 6


  1. President's Message
  2. Coping with Grief and Loss in the Workplace
  3. Membership Update
  4. Events Calendar
  5. Newly Designated
  6. CCAC Election
  7. Region 1 Director's Message
  8. Region 12 Director's Message
  9. Expanding Voter & Youth Outreach
  10. Sponsors

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































City Clerks Association of California www.californiacityclerks.org

CCAC President's Message
Stephanie Smith, MMC

Let me start by apologizing for the delay in this month’s Official Word. I made a commitment to always being timely with my update, so that we could guarantee sending out the OW the first of the month. I’ll share more about why I was late at the end of my post, but I wanted you to know I take this obligation of representing you, and keeping you informed of how I’ve been doing that, very seriously. 

May was a bit of a crazy month for the Clerkdom. We started by celebrating #MunicipalClerksWeek and it was exciting to see all the ways Clerks celebrated and shared with their communities. We had Clerks hosting open houses, Clerks playing trivia games, and lots of Clerks providing food and snacks to entire other staff members to stop by and learn about the Clerk’s Office.  Several Clerks shared their stories on our CCAC Facebook page and it was great to see so many innovative ways to share the Clerk message.  

Later in the month, I headed to Birmingham to represent California at the IIMC Conference.  It was amazing to see nearly 1,000 Clerks from around the world coming together to learn. It was quite the adventure getting there, however.  Treasurer Susan Domen, TTC Institute Director Maureen Kane, and I were on the same flight from Ontario to Dallas, before our connection to Birmingham.  The first leg of our flights was quite uneventful, as all flights should be.  However once we got to Dallas, everything changed.  Thunderstorms rolled in, the sky turned dark as night (at noon), and flights were cancelled right and left.  By the end of the day, our flight had been cancelled, all the other flights were either booked or cancelled as well, and we were left stranded.  Facebook quickly filled up with colleagues' tales of similar troubles across the country.  It seemed the storms were wreaking havoc everywhere, and people were getting stuck in such charming places as Chicago, Madison, and Baltimore.  These were California Clerks, mind you, not the Clerks from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Maryland.

Susan was scheduled to facilitate an Athenian on Sunday morning, and Maureen and I had meetings scheduled for Sunday afternoon, so getting there “sometime” Sunday night just didn’t work for us.  Being the resourceful Clerks that we are, we rented a car and drove the 650 miles to Birmingham.  Let me just say, when the National Weather Service says a Tornado is imminent, believe them.  When the National Weather Service says quarter size hail capable of doing damage to windshields and car bodies is imminent, pay for the rental car insurance.  When the GPS says the road is washed out, believe it. 

That said, the road trip was something I’ll never forget.  We drove through the hardest rain I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  We met some very helpful people along the way.  And although our clothes were wet and we were exhausted, we made it to Birmingham on time for our meetings.  #MaureenKaneDrivesLikeaRockStar

Some of the sessions I attended at the conference included “Flourishing in Failure”, “Disney Magic”, and “Creating Your Life One Thought at a Time”.  We heard some familiar voices, like the amazing Brenda Viola who has been at both the New Law & Election Seminar and our Annual Conference, as well as some new speakers, such as Pete Blank who turned a 25 year career at Disney into a great message of customer service and leadership, and Jan McInnis, who is a standup comedienne specializing in work life humor.  She made us laugh, and look at our work life differently, not taking things quite so seriously, as Clerks tend to do.  Our All-Conference event was held at the home of the Birmingham Barons, a minor league team for the Chicago White Sox, and we had the honor of meeting several baseball legends, all former members of the Negro Baseball League.  These men were giants in the game of baseball, and giants in the civil rights movement, working hard to break barriers every day, and moving past what our friend Ellie Krug calls “otherness” to “allyship”.

The conference ended on Wednesday evening, with a beautiful banquet celebrating our new IIMC President, Lana McPherson and the installation of Region IX’s own Sheri Pierce as IIMC Vice President.  I’m so very excited as I look forward to the 2021 IIMC Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when she will be installed as IIMC President.  It will be nice to have “one of the family” leading the reins at IIMC.

Which brings me to why I’m a little late this month.  The idea of family, particularly our work families, impact so much of what we do, day to day. We spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else, and having a work family that you enjoy, that you trust, that you love, can mean the difference between a thriving career and a tolerated paycheck. When you find those people, when you find your “tribe”, you need to cherish them, nurture them, learn from them.  As leaders, we also need to build them up, teach them, help them to find their wings and fly away if that’s their wish.  We also need to remember, however, that sometimes, after they find their wings, they simply want to build their nest with you and be comfortable. We need to respect that as well, and be grateful that someone likes working with you that much. 

The past few days have been particularly difficult. Workers in Virginia Beach, Virginia lost 12 co-workers in a heinous workplace violence incident. Twelve co-workers! I can’t even fathom the sense of loss and grief they must be feeling right now. We have trained for workplace violence, we have prepared for the actual incidents, but I don’t think anything could prepare us for losing 12 co-workers in a single day. The City Clerk in Virginia Beach is Amanda Barnes. Her email is [email protected].  Even though she doesn’t know us, sometimes just sharing a kind word or thought is enough to lessen the pain. I’m learning that here at home this week as well.

Many of you may remember at the Annual Conference in Anaheim when Past President Byron Pope led us in a moment of silence and prayers for Claudia Bewley, CMC, Executive Assistant in the Clerk’s office here in Murrieta. Claudia had suffered a brain aneurism in January, had successful surgery to repair it in March, and was about to return to work when she suffered a debilitating stroke the week before Conference in April. She went on to experience recurring brain bleeds and infections, and was on a ventilator for over 45 days. Sadly, over Memorial Day weekend, Claudia just couldn’t fight it anymore, and was removed from all active interventions.  She passed away on Friday, May 31st in the presence of her family and loved ones.  A March 2018 graduate of TTC, Claudia was so proud to achieve her CMC last year.  She was also so proud to be part of this profession.  We will miss her spunk, we will miss her smile, and we will miss her caring for those around her.  Rest in Peace, Claudia.  I’m grateful you built your nest with me.

When a Team Member Dies: Coping with Grief and Loss in the Workplace

In many work environments our co-workers are like family. After all, we spend more waking time at work than any other place, so it is only natural that we form strong bonds with the people we work with. We go to lunch together, we go out after work, we attend their children’s birthday parties and graduations, we attend their loved ones’ funerals, we sometimes fall in love with them and get married. Our co-workers are as close to us as our “real” families are, and depending on one’s personal circumstances, sometimes even more so.

So when a co-worker dies, the grief and sense of loss is very real. If the death was unexpected, or someone particularly young, the sense of loss can be even more profound.  Employees and office team members are left wondering what to do, how to feel, how to cope. 

Emotional Impact

How we handle the loss depends on lots of factors, from our religious upbringing, to our relationship with the person who died, even our past experiences with losing a loved one or close family member. The important thing to remember is our reactions, no matter how strong or subdued, are a normal part of grieving. Reacting calmly to the news doesn’t mean that you cared less about the person than the co-worker who was emotionally distraught for days. Everyone processes grief differently. There is no right, or wrong way, to express grief.

It’s also important to recognize that grief is not linear.  There aren’t “the four steps of grief” that must be completed in a specific order before a person can get back to feeling “normal”. While there are various phases to one’s grief, there isn’t a particular order or a set amount of time that a person must experience any of them. The best anyone can do is manage their grief so they can get back to being a person they are comfortable being, even though the hurt may last for a long time.

Physical Impact

The loss of a co-worker can have strong physical impacts as well. Being sad makes it difficult to eat or sleep. We may not feel like exercising, or other activities that enhance our well-being. It’s important to take care of yourself.  If you don’t feel like eating, try small snacks like yogurt or fruit, whole grain crackers or cheese.  If a trip to the gym doesn’t sound doable, take a walk around the block. Get some fresh air.  It will help you sleep better. 

Steps to Cope

  • Take your time. Don’t judge or measure your response against anyone else’s.
  • Share how you feel. Talk to your co-workers or supervisor. Try and express your grief out loud instead of keeping it bottled up.
  • Take care of your physical needs. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. 
  • Allow yourself time to grieve, however don’t be upset with yourself if you take a break from grieving.
  • If you are a religious or spiritual person, seek out your faith leaders.
  • Avoid alcohol and other mind-altering substances.
  • Understand that tears may come unexpectedly, and even after you thought you were “done” grieving. Be patient with yourself.
  • Check in on your other co-workers.  This loss affects many people. Make sure everyone is doing okay. Pay close attention to the quiet ones, the ones that haven’t really openly expressed grief. They might be processing their grief differently, but still need the support of the team.
  • For supervisors and leaders, provide a quiet and private space for employees to mourn. Communicate quickly and directly with employees providing factual, honest information the family is willing to share.
  • If your organization has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), call them. Ask them to be onsite if employees want or need to talk. Encourage employees and your co-workers to seek additional support if necessary.
  • Lastly, be there for one another. After all, they are your family.

Membership Update 
Anthony Mejia, MMC

Membership Information and Tips: 

• New Membership: If you would like to establish new membership, please forward your name, email, mailing address, phone number, and agency website address to Membership Services. We will setup your profile and forward your login credentials, invoice, and a Welcome Letter.

• Transferring Membership: Please contact Membership Services to coordinate the transfer of your membership. Please do not overwrite your profile contact information, because if your former agency paid for your membership, it stays with the agency. We will need to establish new membership under your new agency and ensure that you are assigned to the appropriate CCAC Region.

• Retiree Membership: If you are retired or retiring soon and would like to stay in contact with CCAC, please contact Membership Services to establish your free Retiree Membership profile.

• Primary vs. Associate Membership: Every agency is required to have one Primary Member. All other members within that agency receive a discounted membership rate and are considered Associate Members. There is no other difference between the membership categories as both are eligible for scholarships, discounted registration for trainings and conferences, and may vote in CCAC elections.

However, do not confuse this with the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) membership. If you are pursuing your CMC or MMC, you must be a Full Member or Additional Full Member to be eligible for your designation. Please contact IIMC Membership Services immediately if you think you may have signed up for the wrong membership category, (909) 944-4162.

• Mid-Year Membership Registration: CCAC Memberships are based on a calendar year, January through December. CCAC does not offer pro-rated membership. Example: A City Clerk signs up for new CCAC membership in August. That membership will expire on December 31st with a renewal invoice being sent in January.

If you have any questions regarding CCAC membership, please contact Membership Services at [email protected] (760) 323-8206.             

Events Calendar

CCAC Education Workshops

Back to Basics... & Beyond: A Look at the Record Laws that Govern City Clerks
June 7, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. - Millbrae Community Center
Click here for more information.

The City Clerk’s Role in Emergency Crisis Management
June 27, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. - Victorville City Hall
Click here for more information.

Athenian Dialogues  

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
Facilitated by Patrice Olds, MMC
June 8, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
Hosted by City of Millbrae
Click here for more information.


Nellie Taft by Carl Sferrazza
Facilitated by Stephanie Smith, MMC
July 13, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
Hosted by City of Sacramento
Click here for more information.


Becoming by Michelle Obama
Facilitated by Randi Johl, MMC
July 26, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
Hosted by City of Manteca
Click here for more information.


Nuts & Bolts Workshop June 6-7, 2019 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Modesto. Click here for more information. 

TTC Series 400 June 18-21, 2019 at UC Riverside Extension, Riverside. Click here for more information. 

Visit CCAC Events Calendar for all upcoming education opportunities.

Newly Designated Clerks

Leticia Revilla, CMC - Assistant City Clerk, City of La Mirada

Stacy Leitner, CMC - City Clerk, City of Rancho Cordova

Marni Rittburg, CMC - HR Analyst/Deputy City Clerk, City of Rio Vista

Tracy Oehler, MMC - Assistant City Clerk, City of Buenaventura

Tina Knapp, MMC - Assistant Clerk to the Board, Orange County Sanitation District 

CCAC Annual Election 
Leilani Brown, MMC, CCAC Nominating Committee Chair


The nomination period opened on May 22, 2019 for the following CCAC officers for 2019-2020:

*President – One-year term (Northern)
*First Vice-President – One-year term (Southern)
*Second Vice-President – One-year term (Northern)
*Recording Secretary – One-year term (At-large)
Communications Director – One-year term (At-large)
Treasurer – Two-year term (At-large)
Region Director – Two-year term

Note: Positions marked with an * carry out additional duties as set forth in the City Clerks Department of the League of California Cities Bylaws.

Click here for the Notice of Nominations, Acceptance of Nomination and Candidate Statement Form. The Region Director job description, along with a list and map of the regions, is also attached. Additional position descriptions can be found in the City Clerk Bylaws on the CCAC website.

The filing deadline is July 17, 2019. Submit your Acceptance of Nomination and Candidate Statement form to (and for any questions related to the process, please contact):

Leilani I. Brown, MMC
City Clerk/CCAC Nominating Committee Chair
100 Civic Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA  92660
[email protected]
(949) 644-3005

Electronic ballots will be emailed to each eligible Voting Member no later than August 6, 2019, and the deadline to complete and submit the ballot is September 6, 2019.

Please ensure that you are able to receive Survey Monkey emails (the ballot will come from [email protected] via surveymonkey.com”).  If you are unable to receive their emails, you will need to opt-in here.




Shall Sections 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.2, 4.4, 5.1, 6.1, 6.3, 7.1 and 8.1, along with the introductory paragraph of Article V, of the Bylaws of the City Clerks Association of California be amended?


Proposed for amendment are Sections 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.2, 4.4, 5.1, 6.1, 6.3, 7.1 and 8.1, along with the introductory paragraph of Article V, of the Bylaws of the City Clerks Association of California. Many of the amendments are proposed for the purposes of consistency with practice, technical housekeeping, and/or reference to the Board Policies. The substantive amendments include changing lifetime membership to retiree membership upon five-year membership in the Association (3.4), adding student prospects to affiliate membership (3.5), changing the position of Immediate Past President to Member Services Director (6.1), changing the terms of the Communications Director, Recording Secretary and Member Services Director from one-year to two-years (6.3), and removing term limits for Region Directors.   

Please click here for information regarding proposed bylaw amendments.

For any questions related to the process, please contact:

Leilani I. Brown, MMC
City Clerk/CCAC Nominating Committee Chair
100 Civic Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA  92660
[email protected]
(949) 644-3005

Region 1 Director's Message
April Sousa

For those of you who do not know much about Region 1, we are a small region up in the most northwestern part of our state. As a rural region, we are made up of 4 counties – Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Del Norte – and we all range about 3-5 hours away from most other substantially large Cities. The largest city in Region 1 is Eureka, which is the county seat for Humboldt County, and has an approximate population of 27,177. The smallest city within Region 1 also happens to be in Humboldt County, and this is Trinidad with a population of 360. To give a little more perspective, Region 1 is made up of 14 cities, and 9 of these 14 cities have under 10,000 in population, and 5 of those 9 have under 5,000 in population. We are also home to some incredible natural sites including old growth redwoods, beautiful lakes, and miles of incredible, yet dangerous, coast lines.

On May 10th and 11th, a workshop and Athenian Dialogue combo was held in beautiful Fort Bragg. The road to Fort Bragg is not easy, consisting not of bumper to bumper traffic, but rather of windy and narrow roads with wild turkeys, deer, and squirrel jutting in front of you at every turn. However, the destination is well worth the trip, with a high of 62 in the forecast, a bit of fog and wind, and the incredible Mendocino coast in the background.

The workshop focus and topic was different than we often see at CCAC educational offerings. Dr. Deborah Silveria,Ph.D. , a licensed Psychologist and MFT, spoke with us about the psychological impacts of disasters. We learned not only about how a disaster can cause post traumatic stress, but how we as clerks can give psychological first aid to the citizens of our cities who may be faced with a disaster, and also to our coworkers and colleagues who may experience stress and trauma as disaster workers. It was informative and we brought home ideas and tools to be able to practice in the days, weeks and months to come.

June Lemos, City Clerk for Fort Bragg, our host city, made sure to show us all a good time with tours of City Hall and other places of interest, and a networking dinner at Los Gallitos just a few blocks down from City Hall on Friday night.

After a good night’s sleep, we were joined by a couple other clerks and enjoyed another amazing Athenian Dialogue led by retired Calistoga City Clerk, Kathy Flamson, who also graciously allowed me to help facilitate along side her.

Overall, this was an amazing weekend with some amazing clerks!  

Region 12 Director's Message 
Kevin Christian

On May 3, 2019 Region 12 hosted a training event in San Luis Obispo (SLO) on the Public Records Act. Our speaker, Christine Wood, Director of PRA Services and e-Discovery Counsel at Best Best & Krieger, has been making the CCAC rounds. She presented for the joint Region 6 and 11 event in February and again in April for the Annual Conference. I note this because the topic is hot! In the City of SLO, we have averaged a 76% increase in the number of records requests received each year for the past five years. That’s a 400% increase since 2013! And according to my (non-statistically valid chit-chat style) research, many other cities are experiencing similar increases.

Since none of us are experiencing a corresponding drop in other work to free up time for PRA responses, I thought the best thing to share from Christine’s presentation would be tips on being efficient concerning your records program and communications concerning records requests. Many of these measures have the added benefit of potentially providing risk reduction in the event a PRA request ends up in litigation. And by the way, these are not my good ideas; these are from attendee assessments in seeking their CMC/MMC points—so, sharing our knowledge!

Build a Program: 

  • Have an up-to-date Records Retention policy and stick to it. Keeping documents past retention causes inefficiencies as you then have to search through more material.
  • Educate staff on the retention policy and records production. Include training in onboarding of new staff.
  • Include PRA policy description in contracts and RFPs and put resultant proposals/contracts online to help reduce requests for these documents.
  • Use “draft” watermarks on documents to reduce confusion on which documents are temporary. Destroy notes, drafts, and copies once a “final” is adopted.
  • Email boxes are not records repositories. Email records should be stored outside the email system.


  • Early engagement with requestor helps focus search, can reduce workload, and looks favorable in court if litigation occurs.
  • Confirm keyword search terms with requestor to ensure understanding of intent, efficiency in your searches, and to provide a defensible trail of actions taken.
  • Be consistent in your written communication wording (use templates - Christine passed out exemplars. Check with your Attorney as they may have preferred language.)
  • Phone conversations with requestors should always be followed up with written confirmation of the dialog.
  • Keep all written communications with the requester as they provide an evidentiary record.
  • Final communications for public records requests should always leave the door open for the requestor to be able to say they need more records to satisfy their request.

The City of San Luis Obispo and those who attended this training thank Christine Wood for her time and expertise, and look forward to putting these takeaways to work.  

Half Moon Bay Expanding Voter & Youth Outreach
Jessica Bair, CMC, Communications Director / City Clerk

Adoption of SB 450 created all-mail ballot elections for five pilot counties in the state, including San Mateo County which includes the City of Half Moon Bay. One thing we heard from the public about this new voting procedure was that while mail-in ballots seemed like an easy process, voters missed the camaraderie and fellowship of going to the polls on Election Day and voting with their neighbors. In response, the City of Half Moon Bay came up with a creative way to provide our voters with that old-fashioned election feel.

On October 30, 2018, Half Moon Bay held its first annual Elections Night Out event. Its purpose was to bring people together around the elections and voting process, regain that sense of fellowship, and offer food, information, voter registration, and ballot drop-off in a fun, welcoming atmosphere.

The event was a success with roughly 100 voters attending to drop off their completed ballots, enjoy live music, and share dinner with their neighbors. The County had a voter registration table and a few attendees took advantage of that opportunity. Some families brought their children who received Future Voter stickers and elections coloring books – by all reports, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. A few of the attendees mentioned that this event motivated them to fill out their ballot when they normally would not have, which is a great unexpected effect of this event. 

City staff utilized the opportunity to showcase some City projects and everyday services in a “government fair” style of set up. There were lots of questions for staff from residents that had not engaged with the City before – another unexpected benefit.

The City received a lot of positive feedback from attendees. Many requested that Elections Night Out be a recurring annual event. Given that elections are typically held every two years, staff decided that the off years would feature an event focused on voter registration and elections/district information. 

Additionally, beginning this year, the City will be hosting its new “Future Leaders Civics Academy” focused on Half Moon Bay’s youth in grades 8 - 12. It will run once weekly over three weeks and feature an introduction to local government, an overview of the importance of voting, visits from County and State legislators, and sessions on public speaking and college applications, concluding with a mock election for mayor and councilmembers for a mock city council meeting.

Since 16- and 17-year-olds may now pre-register to vote, the juniors and seniors in the academy will have an opportunity to help plan this year’s Elections Night Out event, to be held in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day on September 24. The goal this year will be to pre-register as many of Half Moon Bay’s eligible youth as possible. Staff has been in touch with “Rock the Vote” and will be working with that group to make the event a success.

These sorts of creative, forward-thinking City events are wonderful examples of how the greater a public agency’s reach into the community, the better a public service organization it can be.

Sponsors (click image)