Once upon a time a city clerk’s role was reactive: keeping the town records. Today, it’s proactive, as city clerks are increasingly asked to drive good government programs and expand public engagement with local governance. It’s not an understatement to say that city clerks are town CDOs – Chief Democracy Officers.
Last month the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) recognized Santa Clara’s leadership through the California Ethics and Democracy Project (CEDP, caethicsproject.diridon.com) – which had its start in city in 2007 – and City Clerk Rod Diridon’s office with the 2012 Inaugural Program Excellence in Governance Award.
The award was given at the IIMC’s second ethics summit, held in Santa Clara, and is the highest honor given by the Institute. Among Santa Clara’s achievements are its founding role in the CEDP and the organization’s first summit in 2009, and the City’s Vote Ethics program.
The California Ethics and Democracy Project (CEDP) was created to share expertise, formulate best practices, and create an educational curriculum to teach the skills necessary to implement good government efforts, according to Santa Clara City Clerk and CEDP Director and former chair Rod Diridon, Jr.
The CEDP’s accomplishments include The Municipal Clerk Decision Roadmap and 6-Way Test for insuring that programs such as voter registration drives or get-out-the-vote campaigns are executed fairly and without bias. “Santa Clara has some of the best programs in the state, they’re a solid model,” says Diridon. “This collaboration helps us to be even more effective by learning what other communities find successful.”