Rodriguez “Explores” City Clerk Run

Thomas MacMillan PhotoNew Haven may be in for a rare political campaign this year: a contested race for the office of city clerk.

Westville Alderman Sergio Rodriguez (pictured) has filed papers forming an “exploratory” committee for a run as a Democrat for the position.

The current city clerk, Democrat Ron Smith, said Tuesday that he plans to run for a sixth two-year term.

The clerk’s job, technically called “city/town clerk” and a 20-hour-a-week position, pays $46,597 a year. The clerk conducts roll calls at Board of Aldermen meetings and technically oversees the clerk’s office, where people file official papers ranging from lawsuits and real-estate sales to committee formations and petitions to run for public office. A full-time staff deputy, Sally Brown, actually runs the office day to day. The office has a $471,808 annual budget.

The position rarely attracts much attention at election time; the clerk has traditionally run on the same ticket as the endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate, often placed on the ticket for racial balancing.

But this year all bets are off because 20-year incumbent Mayor John DeStefano is retiring.

Rodriguez said he formed an exploratory committee, rather than dive into the race itself, because he first wants “to make sure I have the support to do it” and can “form a good, strong, solid campaign team” to run citywide. Rodriguez has served as Ward 26’s alderman for the past nine years. He also ran for state representative against incumbent Pat Dillon. He noted he has yet to run a citywide campaign, which is why he wants to ensure he has the capacity to pull it off.

“I’ve developed some skill sets around constituent services” that would make him a good city clerk, Rodriguez said. He said the office “should be out more in the community.” He has served for two years on the board of the National League of Cities and as president of HELO (Hispanic Elected Local Officials).

Incumbent Smith has already registered as an official candidate. He said he feels he has done a good job for 10 years and will “continue to.”

Melissa Bailey Photo

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posted by: Curious on February 26, 2013  1:10pm

Forty-five thousand dollars for TWENTY hours per week?  I’d like that job, too.  What the hell…

posted by: S Brown on February 26, 2013  3:43pm

50 grand a year for a half-time do-nothing position and all but guaranteed re-election?

Yeah, I could see why he wants that job.

Why does this position exist?

posted by: abg22 on February 26, 2013  4:17pm

But Rodriguez hasn’t said that he will not run for re-election as alderman… or has he?

[Bass: I should have included that in the story. He said if he doesn’t run for city clerk, he does plan to run for reelection as alderman.]

posted by: ElmJackCity on February 26, 2013  7:18pm

When will you folks wise-up and begin to talk about the need to have TERM LIMITS for all our government offices? 

I really wish the NHI would undertake to report on what discourse is present on the issue rather than how many alderman will affect proportionate representation vs. effective governance. 

Start with term limits.  Our national founding fathers did, and they got that part right.

posted by: Claudia Herrera on February 27, 2013  11:08am

Mr. Rodriguez I support your ticket for the City Clerk.
I can not stress enough of how important it’s to have a Spanish voice in our city government, especially now that we (the Latino community) are paying close attention to the soon open mayor’s position. Until now I did’t hear from any of the candidates talking or acknowledged our community.
Assuming for this article are you planing to run by your self? Or you still undecided if you run whit a partner?
On the last elections. Mr Ron quoted this over and over;
” I Know everybody and everybody know me for a long, long time”
Well that’s truth but is he ready to move along with the changes that are coming? Or is he going to be challenge every single move? I will say is time for Mr. Ron say thank you for the opportunity to serve our community.

posted by: newhaven55 on February 28, 2013  12:29pm  -full pay for a half time job, it’s perfect for Mr. Rodriquez.