By Peter Cloven
The Clayton City Council, at my suggestion, has approved the formation of a “Citizens Financial Sustainability Committee.” This five-person committee will be selected by the council from Clayton residents with government, finance, and accounting backgrounds to review finance, budgets, and operations. The desire is to have this committee be a non-political group with no direct council influence, as trusted advisory voices to the council, staff, and residents. This committee will assess Clayton’s structural deficit and provide advice related to future cost-cutting or revenue-generation recommendations. If you have finance/accounting experience (especially in government), please download the application for the committee. It can be found at the bottom of the front page of the city website www.claytonca.gov. The application period is open through November 7, 2022.
Clayton is a city in transition. Caustic 2018 and 2020 elections caused significant changes in the council and city staff. Those transitions caused the retirement of our long-term city manager and gave way to the hiring of four city managers (two of them interim) in the past 4 years. Now our City Manager of the past 2 years, Reina Schwartz, will be moving on in February 2023. The City Council will, once again, begin the exhaustive and expensive search for a new City Manager to lead our staff in the years to come.
In addition, we have seen three Community Development Directors, three Finance Managers, and soon to be three Police Chiefs in the past four years. Hiring quality personnel is especially difficult today given labor shortages and increased compensation needs. Hiring future personnel will also require additional search and recruitment costs that were not anticipated.
The 2022 election is turning out to be another vitriolic and confusing season for our citizens. All candidates have signed the pledge of the California Code of Fair Political Practices. Item 6 of the pledge that candidates sign states “I Shall Immediately And Publicly Repudiate support deriving from any individual or group that resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent, to the methods and tactics that I condemn …”. Some candidates are showing that they have a narrow definition of the words in that pledge.
Clayton is showing itself to be a microcosm of the polarization in national politics. Recently, anonymous defamatory fliers against candidates Ed Miller and Bridget Billeter were delivered with a smugness and joviality that continues to create division within our community, by an anonymous and pseudo political organization. If allowed to go unchecked, qualified residents who would otherwise consider being a candidate (or applicant), will reconsider due to such smear campaigns. I have made it very clear that candidates that benefit from that type of campaign tactic and do not honor their pledge will not get my support for a leadership position on the council.
Regardless of the results of the November election, it will take strong voices of unity within our community to come together and support our city staff with the resources needed to be successful in serving our citizens.
As mayor, I have fought to bring civility to city dialogue during council meetings and during public comment. It is my hope that this effort allows our newly elected representatives the opportunity to serve in the best interests of all Clayton residents. It is important for our Council and residents to seek to embrace our vast commonalities, rather than focus on our limited differences. As your mayor and council member, I will continue to uphold the traits of our “Do the Right Thing” motto – Kindness, Respect, Integrity, Self-discipline, Courage, Responsibility, and Inclusion. I will endeavor to be an example of those traits and provide that leadership accordingly for all of Clayton. While there will always be challenges, the future of Clayton remains bright.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (925) 673-7320.