Manteca is Lisa Blackmon’s kind of town.
“Everyone here is so friendly and nice,” Blackmon, who started as Manteca’s city clerk in June, said. “That is true of 18-year-olds bagging your groceries to people you meet around town.”
It’s not that people in Blackmon’s native Napa aren’t friendly. It’s just that she said people in Manteca take friendliness to the next level.
That dovetails well into what she likes about her job and the opportunity it offers to help people.
The city clerk’s five-member staff serves as the face of the City of Manteca.
Blackmon noted the city clerk’s office is where citizens often turn to that have questions about city services and polices, who want to contact elected council members or who are in need of information on municipal ordinances and a variety of other things. The city clerk’s office is also at the hub of city operations in a wide array of endeavors ranging from supporting other departments to putting together council packets.
The 37-year-old Blackmon also likes Manteca because of its heavy emphasis on families.
She noted “The Family City” is more than just a municipal slogan. Blackmon along with her husband Mike are impressed with the wide array of activities and groups Manteca boosts that their sons ages 5 and 13 can access. They took full advantage of the summer to enjoy a variety of Manteca Parks & Recreation offerings. Their youngest son is looking forward to playing in the Manteca Area Soccer League this fall.
Blackmon, who worked as deputy city clerk in Napa for nearly four years, said she gets asked almost the same question by those who find out where she lived previously: “You moved to Manteca to Napa?” is the question more often than not asked incredulously.
Blackmon responds with a laugh.
“Our home didn’t exactly open to an expansive vineyard,” she said.
Blackmon and her family moved to Manteca for the same reason 2,000 plus people do each year — the affordability of housing, the commute, the lifestyle and amenities such as low-crime rate.
“When we were thinking about taking the job and moving to Manteca I asked the police chief in Napa about the community,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon said the police chief’s response was that Manteca had a low crime rate and was considered a livable city. It is also closer to her husband’s employment in Livermore.
But even more important they were able to afford a newer home with ample space in the Brock Elliott School/Sierra High neighborhood as opposed to their much older and smaller house in Napa.
The median home selling price in Napa is $575,000 compared to $345,000 for Manteca.
The weather — while a little hotter than Napa — coupled with their home is allowing the Blackmons to take full advantage of their backyard. That’s another plus for the family.
Her decision to initially go to work for the City of Napa and ultimately take the job as Manteca’s city clerk was a no brainer.
“I like helping people,” she said.
Clerk’s office staff
has passion for
working with public
It started when she was 15½ when she started working in a winery. That led to a number of years as a front-line manager and general manager in Napa’s extensive hospitality industry.
It was Blackmon’s wide breadth of private and public sector experience that recently retired Manteca City Manager Karen McLaughlin said tipped the scales in favor of hiring Blackmon.
Blackmon said her passion for helping people is shared by the rest of the Manteca city clerk office staff.
Her biggest undertaking currently is gearing up for the Nov. 8 Manteca City Council election where two seats are up for grabs. Eight candidates so far have either filed or taken out papers.
The city clerk’s office not only conducts the election but makes sure candidates comply with various state election laws concerning disclosures and campaign contributions.
The office oversees city record and archives, handles bids, serves as public information officers, initially receives lawsuits and appeals, is the official keeper of council minutes and actions, and is where other departments go when they need to find out about the official city record in preparing agendas and council packets.
She will also be overseeing a revamp of the city’s record keeping system to bring information retrieval up to 21st century standards to further enhance municipal transparency.
And while Blackmon said all aspects of her job are important, she believes serving as a liaison between the public and their elected council is perhaps the most important.
That includes helping citizens secure information from city documents to answering their questions to help make their case.
Blackmon says she’s impressed with how much Manteca residents love their community.
She noted that has been reflected in numerous ways including through her predecessor Joann Tilton — who was city clerk for 32 years — who has been more than willing to share her knowledge when questions have come up.
Blackmon attended Napa Valley Junior College, where she earned Associate’s degrees in Business Administration, Mathematics and Natural Science, General Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Humanities. She attended Sonoma State University before transferring to University of Phoenix, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. A year later, she earned her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix. Blackmon is also a Certified Municipal Clerk.
Blackmon has been a presenter with the City Clerk Association of California. She also served on the League of California Cities’ Housing and Economic Development policy committee for two years.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com