We should all be proud of Del Mar’s resources, both natural and human. Our natural environment is surely the envy of many. Our citizenry includes many highly accomplished and successful individuals. And, the City itself has achieved so much in terms of retaining its architectural charm, preserving and expanding its open public spaces and facilities, and keeping itself financially viable. While we cannot take credit for the breathtaking beauty of our natural environment, we can rightfully do so for our successes both personal and civic. What we may sometimes forget is that our successes are not solo endeavors, but rather the result of those who have helped and guided us along the way. While citizen involvement has had a large impact in making Del Mar what it is, we should recognize the important supporting role that our public servants have played and continue to play. We have been very fortunate to have City employees of the highest quality and dedication. Our administrative staff has kept the business of the city running smoothly, our planning staff has worked hard to maintain orderly development in concert with our Community Plan, our firefighters and lifeguards have kept us and our visitors safe, our public works staff has maintained the city’s resources in good working order and our community service staff has provided the hospitality, control and enforcement to make our city an enjoyable and orderly place to live.
Our City Clerk of over 20 years, Mercedes Martin, who is retiring this year, exemplifies this type of dedication. Very few City Clerks have responsibility for Information Services. Even though Mercedes had no IT background, she was given this responsibility and was able to learn a skill that was beyond her education and training. Her departure highlights to us the nature of the talent that we have and need. Thus it is incumbent upon us to recognize the worth of those who serve our city. Human talent is more valuable than gold, and when we find it we should seek to retain it by demonstrating our appreciation in all ways possible. Certainly the move to improve working conditions by building a new City Hall is a step in the right direction. However, while it may seem a winning financial tactic to keep public salaries lower than most other cities, it could be a losing long-term strategy if we want to maintain our successful trajectory. Del Mar should strive to stay competitive in recruiting and retaining the talent that we have and that we need, and we should let our city workers know how much we appreciate them.