Diaz chosen to lead elections office
A year after losing a close election for Nevada County clerk-recorder to Kathleen Smith, Gregory Diaz was appointed as her replacement Tuesday, promising to bring integrity to the office.
Smith had numerous problems with election mistakes after being appointed to the office three years ago. She resigned in April after the Board of Supervisors learned she had been moonlighting for one month as the city clerk of Rio Vista. Smith’s dual jobs were first reported in The Union.
“Honesty and trust are most important (qualities) with our elections office,” Diaz said before going to work after his unanimous appointment by the Board of Supervisors.
“I don’t think the previous clerk-recorder understood the term accountability,” Supervisor Nate Beason said. “You will be accountable to the voters.”
Beason and Supervisor Sue Horne said they would have preferred an election or more applicants for the position but were confident Diaz can do a good job.
Last week, Diaz told the board he had planned elections at the San Francisco Clerk-Recorder’s office but had not administered one.
“I’m the most squeamish about making another appointment in this office,” Horne said, referring to her endorsement and vote for Smith during the last go-around.
But Diaz’s “outstanding references” and his analytical nature persuaded her to vote for him.
“Thanks for expressing your confidence in me,” Diaz said after the vote. “I’m ready to get to work.”
Diaz was the only candidate of six the board interviewed in public last week for the $90,000-per-year job. County Executive Officer Rick Haffey and Assistant CEO Laura Matteson the next day declined a public request for the names of the other candidates and the hiring panel. A formal Freedom of Information Act request for the information from The Union is pending.
Deputy County Counsel Michael Jamison said the county could probably name the candidates and panel but chose to follow its regular hiring procedure, which includes anonymity.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@the union.com or call 477-4237.
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