Christine Ferraro Tallman kept her department running smoothly in 24 years as clerk to Stanislaus County’s Board of Supervisors.
She was the official record keeper for 915 board meetings and signed 23,767 board resolutions. She held the meetings together by making sure the audiovisual equipment functioned, managed the roll call votes and, according to her colleagues, had a calming effect on officials seated at the dais.
Ferraro Tallman worked her last day at Tenth Street Place on Thursday and handed over the reins to former assistant clerk Elizabeth King.
At her final meeting Tuesday, supervisors referred to Ferraro Tallman as a class act known for her intelligence, professionalism and grace.
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“I know, having worked closely with Christine for 20 years, that her ethical standards and quality of work are impeccable,” County Counsel John Doering said. “Her office serves as a benchmark for other clerks throughout the state. I wish her the best in her well-earned retirement.”
When Ferraro Tallman began work as a field representative in 1990, county government was housed in the county Office of Education building, at 11th and H streets. She was promoted to clerk of the board only two years later.
The board then was known to have longer meetings, especially when a contested land use proposal came before the panel. Numerous lawsuits were filed over environmental issues at Diablo Grande, the golf and residential complex in western Stanislaus County, which kept the clerk’s office busy supplying records for the litigants.
“We used to have more than 1,000 agenda items a year,” Ferraro Tallman said. Board meetings are less time-consuming today, generating 650 to 700 agenda items a year.
Tallman was part of a committee that helped design the Board of Supervisors and City Council chambers at Tenth Street Place, the six-story building that combined Modesto and county offices under one roof in 1999.
She said the chambers’ audiovisual system is now outdated. Proposals will be sought for a high-definition system most likely with a large flat screen able to display multiple windows. That project will be left to her successor.
Ferraro Tallman is proud of her involvement with the California Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Association, serving as its president in 1999. She created a program that provides mentoring for new board clerks appointed in the state’s 58 counties.
Supervisor Jim DeMartini said he once asked to see the minutes from the first county board meeting in 1854. It took about an hour for Ferraro Tallman to retrieve the record.
“She just has this great institutional knowledge,” Supervisor Terry Withrow said. “She has been a great asset for us. The best part of Christine is that she had a good succession plan in place.”
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321