ENCINITAS — After serving the city for 25 years, City Clerk Deborah Cervone retired last week. “I have been working since I was 15,” Cervone said. “I have never had a two-week vacation. I’m just so excited.”
Cervone was hired as Encinitas’ first deputy clerk in 1987, shortly after the city was incorporated. She was promoted to city clerk eight years later.
Working in Encinitas since incorporation, she’s had a front row seat to the city’s transformation.
“I’ve watched the city grow a lot,” Cervone said. “There were probably only 12 employees when I first started.”
The city has been anything but static since Cervone signed on. The same can be said of her job. As city clerk, she’s conducted elections and helped candidates comply with rules. As such, Cervone had to continually digest and stay on top of a multitude of election laws. She’s also had to update and maintain a changing municipal code.
“She has a great knowledge of the city and municipal law,” said Patrick Murphy, the city’s planning and building director. “Not only that, she’s always very friendly. It’s been a pleasure to work with her all these years.”
Cervone also kept up with jumps in technology. At her last city council meeting, about a month ago, Mayor Jerome Stocks presented Cervone with a proclamation, noting her accomplishments included developing an electronic document storage system.
In the past, inquiring citizens had to visit city hall and track down records on microfilm. But thanks in part to Cervone, records and videos of city council meetings can be easily accessed online.
“All the technology is so much different,” said Kathy Hollywood, who was recently appointed interim city clerk. “Even the copy machines — we were joking about how they didn’t even collate before. She’s been good at staying ahead of the curve, in that regard.”
“Most importantly, her personality makes everything easier,” Hollywood added.
And of the other changes at city hall: Citizens are more involved than ever thanks to social networking and the ease of locating information, Cervone believes.
“We’re really proud of the fact that we have paperless agendas now,” Cervone said. “Things are much easier to find. And with social networking, people can share them with a lot of people who might be passionate about the same issues.”
Along with others, Cervone ran countless city council meetings. She recorded minutes, documented city council decisions and prepared agendas, among other orders of business.
“I don’t know what I’ll do with my Wednesdays anymore,” Cervone joked during her last city council meeting.
Humor aside, Cervone said she has “plenty of retirement plans,” especially because her husband retired from the VCA Emergency Animal Hospital in Mission Valley on the same day.
“We just have our ducks in a row and figured it’s time,” Cervone said.
For one, Cervone and her husband plan on adventuring up the coast in an RV, eventually reaching Canada. Along the way, Cervone looks forward to taking their grandkids fishing in Mammoth.
Other than traveling, Cervone intends to garden and walk more often at Swami’s Beach, her favorite local spot. And while she’s retired, she intends to stay in contact with friends she’s made at city hall.
“I’m definitely going to miss the people,” Cervone said. “But I live only a few miles away, so I’ll be stopping by a lot.”