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Lathrop city clerk joins elite group
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LATHROP – Lathrop’s city clerk, Rick Caldeira, has just joined an elite group and added the three letters MMC to his title.

The letters stand for Master Municipal Clerk, a prestigious designation in his professional field, which he earned after fulfilling the required training from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in January.

Shortly after being presented with his new credential, Caldeira was appointed by the City Council to take on the responsibilities of former public information officer Mike Esau whose contractual job was not extended by the council last week due to budget deficits.

The new designation does not translate to a salary raise. “That wasn’t part of the deal,” Caldeira explained. But it does enhance a city clerk’s employability. It also makes him “now in line with Joan Tilton,” Manteca’s city clerk who also has an MMC.

Caldeira said Tilton’s tutelage has been instrumental in getting him involved extensively with the City Clerks Association of California.

“Joan has been a great mentor,” he acknowledged, adding, “Working with my professional association has been a big deal for me. I’ve been actively with CCAC since I came to Lathrop.”

His contributions to CCAC include being a trained “trainer” and the association’s communication’s director for the last two years.

He is also on the state board of the organization, along with Tilton.

Caldeira enrolled in the Master Municipal Clerk Academy for his master clerk status three years ago when he started working in Lathrop.

“It was a lot of training for a long period of time,” he said.

It took him “several vacations” to do the training which he paid out of his own pocket.

Some of the training took place in Santa Barbara, others in various places “all over Monterey,” and other places in California.

All together, the training was “maybe a month or three month’s worth and more” because part of it is social contribution, which is where his social involvements with the CCAC came in, Caldeira explained.

“The program prepares the participants to meet the challenges of the complex role of the Municipal Clerk by providing them with quality education in partnership with 47 institutions of higher learning,” explained Mohammad H. Eftekhari, Ph.D., the director of Education and Research for the International Institute of Municipal Clerks which awards the MMC designation to deserving candidates like Caldeira.

“The program has an extensive and rigorous educational component, a professional and social contributions component, and a commitment to lifelong learning. The Academy members must demonstrate that they have actively pursued educational and professional activities and have remained informed of current socio-political, cultural, and economic issues that affect local governments and municipalities,” Eftekhari added.

Caldeira came to Lathrop from the City of Fremont where he worked as deputy city clerk for five years.

Prior to joining the roster of government employees, Caldeira worked in the private sector as a legal secretary at NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) in Fremont.

Shortly after being hired as Lathrop’s city clerk, Caldeira bought a house in the city’s Old Town District.

“Lathrop is good. It’s been an interesting three years,” he said.

As far as his job is concerned, “It’s been an interesting roller-coaster ride because of the budget cuts” which saw his staff go down from 3.5 personnel to a mere .5 staff today, he said.

In addition to his array of responsibilities as city clerk, Caldeira oversees the processing of passports at City Hall.

He has trained other staff to do it but “I do it as well,” he said.

The city has been processing passports since City Hall was located at the J.R. Simplot building on Howland Road.

“It’s an added benefit to the city,” Caldeira said of this service provided to area residents. The $25 fee charged for each passport goes to the city coffers.

“It’s a revenue source for the city,” he said.

With his academy training completed, Caldeira is now free to spend his vacations pursuing his favorite hobby: traveling.

“I love traveling,” especially going on a cruise, said Caldeira who said he’d only been to three countries in the last three years  – Mexico, Honduras and Belize.

His dream cruise at the moment: A Disney cruise that would take him to all the islands in Hawaii.