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May 27, 2018
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Clerk of the year for performance during October firestorm

April 27, 2018

RP deputy city clerk recognized as “Clerk of the Year” for performance during October firestorm

Caitlin Saldanha, Deputy City Clerk for Rohnert Park, received the City Clerk of the Year award, April 19 by the City Clerk’s Association of California. She was recognized in particular for her excellence in keeping the public informed during last October’s wildfires in Sonoma County. 

During the initial hours of the fire City Clerk JoAnne Buergler was cut off from the city due to many road closures. As parts of the city were evacuated due to risk from the fire, Deputy City Clerk Caitlin Saldanha, a native and resident of Rohnert Park, immediately responded to the City’s Emergency Operations Center. She used the “Clerk in a Box” that she helped to prepare for just such an emergency to provide the disaster declaration for the City Manager. She then transitioned to providing the community with crucial public information. 

With the city’s dispatch center overwhelmed with 10 times the number of normal calls, she launched a proactive communications blitz on evacuation and shelter information using Facebook, NextDoor, Twitter and the city’s website. She collaborated with the Public Safety Department’s staff in preparing Nixle messages to ensure consistent messaging. Once the City’s Public Information Officer and his staff were evacuated and could not come to the EOC, Deputy Clerk Saldanha served as the Deputy Public Information Officer for the next five days. 

The city received numerous commendations from residents for keeping residents well-informed during the fires. One resident noted, “She was the best. Every time we logged in there was an update. It really set our minds at ease.” 

Vice Mayor Joe Callinan noted, “Those of us fortunate enough to work with Caitlin appreciate her outstanding performance. She went well above and beyond duty during that week we’ll never forget, helping to ensure that there was no gap in information or room for rumors to spread. She demonstrated the best in public service and is a true asset to the city and our community.”