What does City Clerk Hosam Haggag do? While the City’s website has a list of activities assigned to the Clerk’s office, what is listed doesn’t necessarily tell the story.
The website lists several honors attributed to the Santa Clara City Clerk, but these were awarded during Rod Diridon Jr.’s time in the office. Since Diridon’s time, not much has transpired.
Many readers might remember when Lisa Gillmor was first elected Mayor and consolidated her majority on the city council. Gillmor began what the Mercury News called her scorched earth policy. Many talented and dedicated employees were forced out and replaced. In came Gillmor’s choice for City Manager, Deanna Santana, and Brian Doyle as City Attorney.
Rod Diridon Jr., one of the brightest employees in the City and someone with a record of long service that included two terms on the city council, resigned his elected position in February 2018. Some say it was because he anticipated that his job would be neutered by the Mayor and her compliant council.
The transformation was in process. City Attorney Doyle found an ingenious way around the charter. He proposed assigning all the City Clerk’s responsibility to the Assistant City Clerk and making the City Clerk a “ceremonial” office with a stipend to match.
In the next election, Haggag ran for clerk. He narrowly won the election with 25% of the votes in a 6-way election. He was re-elected in 2020, when he ran unopposed. His qualifications? None that we are aware of but considering the current “duties,” not much is required other than he supports Mayor Gillmor.
The current council is reviewing the City Charter and two items will be reviewed, both of which relate to elected positions. The first is the elected office of city clerk and the second is the position of an elected chief of police.
These are two positions that should be appointed by Santa Clara’s professional city manager. They are the best representatives of the city and best qualified to make these choices impartially, based on qualifications and experience. Perhaps the most important is oversight.
The city manager should be responsible for selecting the best individuals for the position and their duties. This decision, as it does with every other department in the city, would eliminate unqualified candidates who just happen to have more money or run unopposed.