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2 new faces on Lathrop Planning Commission
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LATHROP – There are two new faces on the Lathrop Planning Commission.

Lifelong Lathrop resident Mark A. Elliott, who is with the San Joaquin County Probation Department, and Jaime Hernandez who the founder and president of the Lathrop Titans Youth Football and Cheer, were recently appointed to fill the left vacant by termed-out commissioners Bennie Gatto and Diane Lazard.

Elliott and Hernandez join current Planning members Jose Perez whose term expires On June 30, 2012, and Mac Freeman and Dan Mac Neilage whose tenures will run through June 30, 2011.

Elliott, whose family roots run deep in Lathrop, is currently the assistant deputy chief probation officer for San Joaquin County, a position he has held since 2005.Before that, the California State University Sacramento graduate’s nearly two decades in the county’s probation department included tenures as probation unit supervisor, and deputy probation officer III and II. He worked his way up in the department, starting as a group counselor assistant at Juvenile Hall in April of 1993.

In the profile he submitted with his Planning application, Elliott indicated that his experience with San Joaquin’s Juvenile Detention Services includes “overseeing the operation of 179-bed juvenile hall and a 45-bed camp.

He also described himself as “skilled in developing and implementing policies and procedures.”

In addition to his full-time job, Elliott works for the University of California, Davis as a probation class instruction. He has instructed and trained deputy probation officers throughout the State of California.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento, and finished his AA degree, also in criminal justice, from San Joaquin Delta College. He has also taken several probation, counseling and management administration core classes from Sacramento City College.

This is not his first appointed position with the city. He served as Park and Recreation commissioner from 1993-1996.

In the past 17 years, Elliott has been involved as an assistant and head coach both in Lathrop and Manteca for such sports groups as the Lathrop Titans, Manteca Chargers, and Delta Rebels Youth Football. He has been a youth football coach for 10- to 15-year-old boys, and has led the Manteca Chargers to four superbowl championship wins.

Hernandez is also no stranger to many in Lathrop especially those who are actively involved in sports. In addition to being the founder and president of the Lathrop Titans, he is also the president of the Lathrop Little League, a Lathrop Parks and Recreation commissioner, member of the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce, and an honorary member of the Lathrop Sunrise Rotary.

He has been the recipient of a number of recognition awards from the Lathrop Chamber, Lathrop Little League, Lathrop Titans, and the City of Lathrop.

Hernandez, who has been with Merced County’s Department of Justice as a law enforcement officer since July 27 this year, according to the information in his application, attended Chabot College with a “pending” bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts.

“For the past 16 years, I have taken a hands-on approach to numerous programs and/or projects within the City of Lathrop,” he stated in his application. “In doing so, I have gained valuable insight as to the needs of the city. I am prepared to accept this opportunity to continue making sound decisions that make a positive impact to our community.”

Planning commissioners meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 390 Towne Centre Drive. Commissioners receive a stipend of $20 for each meeting that they attend.