Government / Politics

San Juan Bautista’s deputy county clerk retires after 17 years

Trish Paetz has shouldered a multitude of responsibilities.
Trish Paetz. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Trish Paetz. Photo by Robert Eliason.

After 17 years of service, Trish Paetz is retiring from her job as San Juan Bautista’s deputy county clerk. Amid the constant turnaround in city employees, Paetz stands out as one of City Hall’s great assets and her presence there will be missed by many, particularly City Manager Don Reynolds.

“I think it would have been impossible for me if there had not been someone in City Hall like Trish,” Reynolds said. “She’s been the person I’ve relied on for getting the story straight. There have been a lot of changes but she has remained the stalwart champion for the city for the last 17 years. There have been four city managers in the last four years, but only one Trish.”

Prior to working for the city, Paetz was an executive assistant for the San Benito Health Foundation for six years. When that job ended, a temp agency assigned her the job of taking the minutes of Historic Resources Board meetings once a month.

“That was my shoo-in,” she said. “I was hired a couple of months after that. I was definitely up to doing more than just minutes so I started helping the city manager, Larry Cain, with filing things in his office.” 

Paetz’s exceptional ability to keep track of records became a talent other city managers came to appreciate.

“She pointed me to an old box in the garage that has agreements in it that I didn’t even know existed,” Reynolds said. “They were all with our big users, like Coke Farms and Taylor Farms. It was just her knowing where things are, knowing the history, and being able to put her finger on something like that.”

While Paetz said that San Juan Bautista is historically slow to take on change, the workload has increased considerably since she started in 2005, in part due to improving access to the city’s business.

“We are doing more in terms of transparency and getting information out there to the public,” she said. “I was a little skeptical at first that it would reach our residents because I didn’t really get a feeling that they were using their computers a lot. But it turned out that the electronic side of it was good for the public.”

Paetz calls herself “the office manager in City Hall” and handles a multitude of jobs.

“I am the administrative assistant for the city manager,” she said, “so I help with scheduling meetings and I act as a buffer when people come in and want to talk to him. I try to help them with their questions. I also handle recruiting, take care of the payroll, and deal with the liability insurance for the city.”

Although Paetz is a resident of Hollister, and therefore not eligible to run for the office of City Clerk, at times when the position was vacant, Paetz would fill in, handling record requests and public elections, among other things.  

“I wish I could have run for the position,” she said. “I am definitely more involved in San Juan and on weekends, you can’t keep me away. It has become a second home to me and I know a lot of people here from helping them at work and also meeting them at the post office. It has been wonderful dealing with so many people who have been living here a long time and who are really interested in what is going on with the city government.”


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Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.