We’re continuing MMANC’s 71st anniversary celebration by spotlighting past presidents that have contributed to our organization’s success. July is Parks and Recreation Month making 1996-1997 MMANC President Jacqui Diaz an especially fitting highlight. Jacqui began her career in San Leandro’s Recreation Department.
It was in San Leandro that Wes McClure and a former city manager, Dick Randall, strongly encouraged Jacqui to join MMANC. The friendships she made shaped some of her fondest memories in her time with the Association, along with hosting the first “at home” board retreat and advocating that leaders invest more time in MMANC members at the City Manager’s Department meeting for the League of California Cities.
“It was sort of expected that I carry on the tradition of getting involved with MMANC, and it was absolutely worth it. MMANC has made a big impact on my understanding of the value of connecting with others,” commented Jacqui.
Jacqui recently returned to the workforce after retiring from 40 years of public service as the Public Information Officer and Assistant to the General Manager for a special district. She started her career early in the San Leandro Recreation Department throughout her college years and later forged a career having worked in almost every local government department. Much of her career was spent in the East Bay area with several cities, agencies and non-profit organizations.
She calls herself the “Mary Poppins of Public Administration” after holding positions, including Deputy City Manager, Interim Assistant City Manager, Public Information Officer, Analyst, contract employee, consultant, Human Resources Manager and Interim City Clerk. Though she didn’t plan to wear this many hats in local government, she cherishes the experience and knowledge she’s gained in budgeting, law enforcement and fire, human resources, public information and engagement, grants, housing, economic development, recreation, policy development, community task forces and special projects.
Her career has been filled with sitcom worthy moments, such as having to move boats during a federal dredging of a marina, managing two cemeteries, working and closing a golf course, managing a solid waste contract without any experience, almost backing a Battalion Chief’s truck off a dock, running a community festival three days overdue with her firstborn and watching a 12-gallon Igloo of lemonade spill in the backseat of her car. She reflects on these memories as the reason all people enter public service–to do whatever we can to help others (and have fun while doing it).
“Being involved in MMANC was a fantastic way to learn about other departments and jobs, and an amazing way to connect with others in the profession who were resources and helped to share ideas,” added Jacqui.