Contra Costa Supervisors To Consider Clerk-Recorder Applicants

January 14, 2020 8:00 am · 15 comments

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider choosing who to interview from among 22 applicants for the vacant county clerk-recorder’s position.

The interviews are scheduled to take place in a week, on Jan. 21. The supervisors’ plan is to appoint a new clerk-recorder on Feb. 4.

The new clerk-recorder would succeed Joe Canciamilla, who resigned abruptly in late October, one year into his second elected four-year term.

About a week later, Canciamilla reached a settlement with the Fair Political Practices Commission on 30 counts of campaign finance violations including using $130,529 in campaign funds for personal expenses and for filing falsified records to cover it up.

Applicants include several people prominent in local government in Contra Costa, and several current employees of the clerk-recorder’s office.

Among the candidates are acting Clerk-Recorder Deborah Cooper; former 16th District Assemblywoman Catharine Baker; Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff and Concord Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister.

There isn’t a set number of applicants to be selected for interviews.

Today’s Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the supervisors’ chambers at 651 Pine St. in downtown Martinez.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Doh January 14, 2020 at 8:17 AM

Is being crooked a requirement? “30 counts of campaign finance violations including using $130,529 in campaign funds for personal expenses and for filing falsified records to cover it up.” is a high bar to reach. BTW did he get any jail time?

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Lars Anderson January 14, 2020 at 10:21 AM

The Contra Costa DA’s office is currently investigating Canciamilla’s crimes, and the DA’s office will likely be prosecuting him for his criminal activity.
As I understand it, people in the DA’s office want a full blown trial – there will be no slap on the wrist for Canciamilla. He will also almost certainly get disbarred by the state bar.
Our current DA, Diana Becton, does not play favorites or look the other way when politicians, or rich people – or cops – commit crimes. These type of offenders get treated just like anybody else that breaks the law. Her promise to do this – to administer justice in our county fairly – is a key reason she won the DA’s job.
As many know this is the second big name Contra Costa politician caught embezzling from their campaign funds. Our previous DA, Mark Peterson, also was caught embezzling from his campaign funds. Canciamilla, in fact, is a former Assemblyman, he was a statewide office holder, so he’s an even bigger fish than Peterson.
Because these two high profile Contra Costa pols got caught red handed stealing from their campaign accounts – using the money to finance a lavish lifestyles – Contra Costa County has developed a statewide reputation for crooked politicians.
Significantly this bad behavior by Canciamilla and Peterson didn’t occur on DA Diana Becton’s watch. She ran as a reformer, and she was elected by voters to make reforms. Problematic though is Contra Costa now has this reputation for hosting crooked politicians because stories about Petersons and Cancimilla’s criminal activities were published up and down the state.
Given this you can predict DA Diana Becton will come down hard on Cancimilla. He’s not going to get a slap on the wrist. As the Chief law enforcement officer in Contra Costa Becton needs to restore trust, she must send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. I predict Canciamilla will get jail time, maybe even prison.

Lars Anderson January 14, 2020 at 9:43 AM

If Concord City Council women Laura Hoffmiester get’s the job the first thing she will do is give all the employees working at the elections department big fat raises.
Hoffmiester loves overpaying city workers, especially managers at the city, this has been the central focus of her “work” in her 30 plus years on the Concord Council. Hoffmiester can’t figure out a way to fund a badly needed new library in Concord, but she has no problem finding the money to overpay city workers. Thanks to Hoffmiester’s leadership City of Concord employees get paid an average of 30,000 more per worker than City of PH and WC workers do (see Transparent California).
Our PD Chief in Concord makes 50,000 more than the PD Chief does in Walnut Creek, and Captains at the city of Concord PD make more than the Walnut Creek Police Chief. In fact, the Captains at Concord PD make more than the PD Chief’s in all other Contra Cosata cities, except for Richmond.
Under Hoffmiester’s leadership in Concord the wages of city workers have gone into the stratosphere, so has pension debt, simultaneously to this we saw 1/3rd of the city work force laid off – which has led to a horrific reduction in services to Concord’s taxpayers. Higher wages for managers working at the city, and fewer services, and more taxes for taxpayers, that has been the hallmark of Hoffmiester’s totally inept leadership.
Hoffmiester herself, I should mention, is an overpaid under performing city worker. At her job in at the City of Clayton – a job where she does almost nothing all day – she is paid 90,000 annually to perform a glorified secretarial job.
Her job at the city of Clayton is the cushiest ever invented, she pushes a few papers around an office, she talks on the phone once in awhile, she does the agenda for city council meetings, and she talks to cranks that wander off the street occasionally. These duties take up about 2 hours a week to do, so the rest of the time Hoffmiester pretends to work. For that she is being paid almost 100K a year!
Many believe Hoffmiester’s “job” at the City of Clayton is linked to the fact that the City of Concord PD picks up some of the costs of the tiny Clayton police department. Her job – from what I can see – has the sour odor of corruption surrounding it. Nobody I know get’s paid 90 a year to do nothing.

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Well Folks January 14, 2020 at 10:41 AM

Lars – Hoffmeister will not get the job. The BoS has already decided that Mitchoff will be the next county clerk. The entire process is a sham. So stop fretting over it

Well Folks January 14, 2020 at 10:45 AM

Also Lars your comment about raised for Dept staff is ludicrous. The county has county wide labor contract & there is nothing dept can do about it. Really you should spend more time researching &, educating yourself & less time on lengthy pontifications on Claycord

Well Folks January 14, 2020 at 9:56 AM

And your new county clerk is………drum roll……..Karen Mitchoff. The entire process is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

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Almost Famous January 14, 2020 at 10:50 AM

A quick look at the applications would dictate that Catherine Baker and the three people currently working in the office including Debi Cooper are the most qualified and should be considered for the position.The only reason Karen Mitchoff’s name would be considered for the next round would be as a professional courtesy from the rest of the Board. If she is appointed to the position the other board members that voted for her should be recalled.

Well Folks January 14, 2020 at 11:19 AM

Almost Famous – Contra Costa is not known for giving positions to the best qualified when comes to appointed dept heads. It will go to Mitchoff not out of “courtesy” but out of cronyism. It’s the county way and after spending almost 33 years at the county I saw plenty of it

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Hope Johnson January 14, 2020 at 11:55 AM

I tend to agree on this with Well Folks but have heard rumors that for some reason Mitchoff does not have the votes. Very curious how this will go.

If Mitchoff gets the position as expected, will Hoffmeister be appointed to her board seat? Who in the county has sway with Gov. Newsom?

If Hoffmeister were to be appointed to the board, would we be stuck with Ron Leone being appointed to Concord City Council? Ugh.

Dorothy January 14, 2020 at 11:44 AM

Why not look for someone who actually understands records, record keeping, and other related duties? A Certified Records Manager would make a good county clerk-recorder and I would hope that at least one of the several current employees of the clerk-recorder’s office is a CRM.

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Rene D. Maher January 14, 2020 at 12:21 PM

Catherine Baker would be my choice

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Lars Anderson January 14, 2020 at 1:25 PM

I would agree, Catherine Baker is the best candidate that applied, by a country mile. She is a terrific lady, with tons of ability. I like her strong legal back round for the job – she was a top notch lawyer before serving in the legislature. She also has a reputation for total integrity too, which is sorely needed at the county level.
These two big name politicians – Peterson and Canciamilla – both busted for stealing from their campaign funds to finance lavish lifestyles – were longtime county employees. These two have sullied the reputation of Contra Costa County statewide – big time – so putting a straight arrow like Catherine Baker in the job really works.
I think the worst choice would be Supervisor Mitchoff. The Contra Costa Times has already reported that Mitchoff wants the job to spike her county pension. According to reports, if she gets the job her county pension will balloon into the stratosphere.
If the Board goes ahead appoints the barely qualified Mitchoff it will look like a smelly back room deal. Mitchoff has no back round as an executive, no legal back round either. By making such an appointment the Board would basically be saying the following; ” “Hey, this is Contra Costa, all of us politicians are a bit crooked here. That’s why we appoint our unqualified friends to high paying jobs – jobs they are not qualified for – to spike their pensions”.
I don’t think the board wants to send that message to county residents, many of whom have become disgusted watching big name county bigwigs being arrested for stealing, or for harassing county female employees.

Kentucky Derby January 14, 2020 at 12:50 PM

The position could go to any of the applicants, but Mitchoff is a strong candidate. There are other strong candidates as well.

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Almost Famous January 14, 2020 at 1:31 PM

Word on the street is that the following six people have been approved for additional consideration;
Catherine Baker
Kristen Connolly
Debi Cooper
Mark Friedman
Scott Konopasek
Karen Mitchoff
Baker, Cooper and Konopasek all have the credentials and background to be considered as worthy candidates. I cant speak to Connolly or Friedman but the Mitchoff consideration is obviously due to the previously mentioned Courtesy/Cronyism (you choose which) aspect.

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Holy Smokes January 14, 2020 at 3:13 PM

Echoing Dorothy, the City Clerk-Recorder should be a professional position based on contract just like a City Manager. But in CoCo County it’s just one more no-show political payola job for lifers and deal makers hoping to use the post as sinecure and prep for higher office .Get ready for musical chairs.

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