Enhanced education for the changing times
Taylor learns additional communication techniques to bolster job performance in Cotati city managerís office
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By Dave Williams  October 12, 2012 12:00 am


Tamara “Tami” Taylor is one of those fortunate people in life who truly enjoys her job.

She recently celebrated her fifth anniversary as being the deputy city clerk in Cotati and has been in this line of work for nearly 14 years. When asked if there were any drawbacks to her job, she thought long and hard but was unable to come up with an answer.

“I feel I’m very well suited for this job, so no, there are no drawbacks,” she said.

120 grueling hours
Taylor, with the help of City Manager Dianne Thompson, has taken steps to become even more proficient at her job. She recently earned the designation of Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC). She had to undergo 120 hours of education, which has been vetted by the IIMC to earn such status.

The IIMC only grants the CMC designation to municipal clerks who have completed the demanding education requirements and who have a record of significant contributions to their local government, their community and the state. The IIMC was founded in 1947 and has 10,300 members throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries.

“In light of the speed and drastic nature of change these days, lifelong learning is not only desirable, it is necessary for all in local government to keep pace with growing demands and changing needs of the citizens we serve,” IIMC President Brenda Cirtin said. “Cotati can take immense pride in Tamara’s educational accomplishment and achievements of this milestone.”
Taylor also felt it was important to interact with other municipal clerks.

“Laws change, so that’s why the lifelong education is promoted,” Taylor said. “We can learn from each other, because other clerks go. We can learn different ways to do the same job. There’s a lot of networking opportunity to assist each other in working with elected officials and the public.”

Communication strategies
Taylor said she learned good communication strategies to help her deal with the vast variety of different types of people she’ll deal with on a daily basis.

“An older person coming in is going to have a different outlook than a younger person,” Taylor said. “With a younger person, I know I can e-mail them the records request; with the older person, I may or may not be able to do so. I’m not going to have a communication style where one size fits everybody.”

Her favorite time
This time of year – election season – is where Taylor finds the most excitement in her job. As deputy city clerk, she also is Cotati’s election official and the compliance officer for the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“It’s my favorite part of the job, being the elections official, because it’s so grass roots,” she said. “Especially at the municipal level because it’s nonpartisan. A candidate is nominated by voters in the city.”

Taylor is overseeing what is expected to be an exciting and contentious election this year, with three seats up for grabs. Incumbent Mayor Susan Harvey and Councilman John Dell’Osso are looking to hold onto their seats, while Wendy Skillman, former council member George Barich and write-in candidate Alden Olmsted are vying for a spot. Janet Orchard opted against running for reelection.

With such a diverse group – along with the emotional issue of Measure U concerning roundabouts – on the ballot, Taylor finds it of utmost importance to maintain a sense of impartiality. But that comes easy, she said.

“In my work hours, I can stay unbiased,” Taylor said. “It’s a great exercise to maintain that. I work with people who are incumbents, and the next person who walks through that door could be an ex-councilmember. Maintaining impartiality is not difficult at all.”

One of her most important tasks, because of the Brown Act, is making sure the council meeting packets are availalbe when they’re supposed to be available.

 Taylor and her husband, Darren, have two children and four grandchildren.

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