On Oct. 12, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors selected Elaina Cano to fill the role of county clerk after Tommy Gong resigned from the role in June.
Supervisors Lynn Compton, John Peschong and Bruce Gibson voted for Cano while Dawn Ortiz-Legg voted for Deputy Director Helen Nolan, who served as acting county clerk after Gong resigned. Supervisor Debbie Arnold did not cast a vote due to her frustration about the limited pool of candidates.
Before entering this new role, Cano worked as an elections manager in Santa Barbara County. Cano also has experience serving as the city clerk in San Luis Obispo and Pismo, she was also the assistant county clerk-recorder in San Luis Obispo County from April 2015 to Oct. 2019.
Nolan expressed her assurance that the County Clerk-Recorder Office will be in good hands moving forward.
“I have every confidence that our office is going to be able to move forward in a cohesive manner and continue to offer the citizens the best possible customer service as we always have,” Nolan said.
The county clerk has a number of highly important administrative responsibilities including running the local election process, filing birth, death and marriage records, registering business names and managing property ownership documents.
Nolan spoke about the importance of the clerk-recorder.
“We are the election process, we run the election,” Nolan said. “We do everything from start to finish, we produce the ballots, we maintain the voter registration roles, we count the ballots and we report the results.”
Nolan also explained how the county clerk has a variety of important responsibilities including, but not limited to issuing birth certificates and marriage licenses and managing property ownership documents.
Gong resigned from the role after he accepted a new role as the deputy county clerk recorder for Contra Costa County. In June, Gong said he was ‘extremely fortunate’ to be offered the role since it will allow him to move closer to his older family members.
Gong resigned from his role during the second half of his four-year term, so the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors were responsible for appointing a new county clerk. If Gong’s resignation would have taken place in the first half of his term, a special election would have taken place. The county clerk-recorder position will be back on the ballot in 2022 and the next term will begin in January 2023.
To find candidates for the role, the county created a post advertising the role to the public. According to The Tribune, the county received 44 applications for the role and only four of those candidates had the leadership experience specified for the role. On Oct. 12, the Board of Supervisors interviewed three finalists for the role and selected Cano to fill the position.