Guest Opinion: Why I Want to be City Clerk

By Thomas MacDevitt

I’m Thomas MacDevitt, and I’m declaring my candidacy for the office of City Clerk for the city of Santa Clara.

Thomas MacDevitt
Thomas MacDevitt, Santa Clara City Clerk candidate

​For nigh on twenty years my family has been proud to call Santa Clara our home. During this time, I’ve seen how we have had a revolving door of politicians swapping elected seats in our city.  This system has locked out those who want to bring a change to our “politics as usual”. Our system of electing council members is so flawed, that it took an imminent lawsuit to finally get the incumbents to bring forth an alternative process.

​There are several tasks that the City Clerk office performs for the citizens of Santa Clara, but the two most important of these, in my opinion are: 1) the recording and maintaining of a full and true record of all the proceedings of the City Council 2) serving as the city auditor.   These duties ensure that the elected officials are not only on the record for how they govern, but also that they are not attempting to spend our City’s coffers in an illegal manner. This is why we need a competent outsider from the current politic bloc to be our next City Clerk.

​Why in the past 12 months have multiple elected and appointed officials resigned in Santa Clara?  I look forward to serving the citizens by making sure that the sunshine laws that are in place, are actually followed.  A true neutral voice in advising the council on the legality of the actions they take will finally be in place, and not yet another connected government employee.

​My wife Cathy and our infant son Tommy, moved to Santa Clara in 1998. Our second son, Matthew, was born two years later.   In these twenty years, I have been involved in my community through serving on nonprofit boards, commissions, and school site councils.  ​My career in software development has prepared me well for the tasks and duties needed to be a City Clerk, as reviewing documents and then insuring the instructions contained therein are carried out correctly is how I’ve supported my family for the past twenty-eight years.  In addition to my work in the field of software development, I am also a licensed Realtor, and have earned my Master of Arts in Education. In the procurement of that degree I had the privilege to student teach at Peterson Middle School.

​I look forward to working to provide all the residents of Santa Clara with the service they deserve from the City Clerk’s office.



  1. The notion that the City Clerk. Reds to be an appointed position is absolutely ridiculous! Santa Clara has elected their City Clerk forever and just because the new City Manager wants “her way” it is NOT The Santa Clara Way and she (and her anointed ones) need to realize they work in OUR CITY! They need to remember they work for us … and stop attempting to make Santa Clara into Sunnyvale or San Jose or Oakland.

    This is Santa Clara ,.. and voters must (and will) retain their right to vote for their City Clerk to do what the city clerk does … it is not a “ceremonial position” either … when the City Manager, Cit Attorney and other City Staff finally do their jobs, the City Clerk will do his or hers too! Follow the City Charter and stop rocking the boat, Deanna, Walter, Brian, Ruth, Jennifer, et al or get off the boat. You’re in Santa Clara and YOU work for us … we ELECT our City Clerk and we ELECT our Chief of Police … get used to it!

    It is THE SANTA CLARA WAY! Stop your darn games!

  2. Peta and Dan, Thank you both for the kind words. Dan, I’m very touched by your reply. I was limited to 500 words, and I feel the weakest part of this story, is the revolving door portion, that Peta is referring to. I do believe in term limits, but they are very loosely applied here in Santa Clara. They are more like “mandatory time outs”. After eight years as a council member, a two year break is required before they can serve for another eight years. That’s not how I envision term limits!

    Peta, as far as electing anybody to the job of City Clerk, I agree with you. We shouldn’t elect anybody, but rather the right person. Unabashedly I feel that is me. Could there be others? Absolutely and I hope they run for the office against me. That would be a great predicament, to have to choose from several wonderful people. I will be hosting meetups in the future, please come and let me address and hopefully alleviate these concerns of yours.

  3. Tom, you would be great! I first met you when our boys played baseball together at Homestead Little League. We both served on its board and volunteered many hours to make it a special place for boys and girls to learn the great game. Those that support the notion that the City Clerk Job has “evolved” are just plain wrong. That somehow the J.O.B. of City Clerk has become to complicated with nuances and intricacies that only a “Professional” can do…..that notion is silly at best. You are educated and well read; enough to know how a Council/Manager form of government works. The Job of City Clerk is to provide leadership to the professional staff that handles the details such as the Management of public records, filing dates, election practices, adherence to the Brown Act, and other functions. I mean really… you think Governor Jerry Brown knows every daily detail within the various agencies and departments of the state? No! Tom you are up to the task and I will be the first to commit my vote and the other three votes in my household! Thomas “Tom” MacDevitt for City Clerk

  4. Tom, you know I think you are great! Great citizen. But I have to ask, you make it sound the “revolving doors” of elected officials is a bad thing, you know about term limits, right? And aren’t you contradicting yourself when you declare that the election system has “locked you out”? How can that be when you’ve never stood for election? You’re only locking yourself out if you never present yourself as a candidate.

    Personally I believe that the job of City Clerk has evolved into a job that requires a specialist, that it’s time to move on from electing this position. Look how picky we have been in choosing an auditor for the Stadium, but we think we can elect ((anyone)) to City Clerk whose it is to conduct audits? Tom, your opinion on the what the job is of the City Clerk is unimportant, but we do need someone with Government experience who understands thoroughly how the City works. From my long experience in government it takes a different mindset to be a true public servant. You only have to look at the very public display of disrespect for government by the President to come to that conclusion.

    I’d like to see you run for Council Tom, you’d be great!

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