A stalwart of local government in Scotts Valley is calling it a career this week.
After more than three decades of service to the community, working under five city managers and 23 city council members, City Clerk Tracy Ferrara is retiring.
“Tracy outlasted all other employees at the City because she worked collaboratively with everyone at all levels,” said Councilman Jack Dilles, who knows this first-hand, since he was a City staffer in the 1990s. “She is a team player and a straight shooter. She was trusted to get the job done, and she always has. We will miss her big time at City Hall.”
Ferrara was in charge of developing department budgets, handling recruitment and negotiations and processing thousands of public records requests—among myriad other duties.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Ferrara went straight into the National Guard after graduating high school, eventually rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class before retiring in 2001.
She began her municipal career in Watsonville, working for seven-and-a-half years alongside City Manager Chuck Comstock, who was her neighbor growing up. They would later be colleagues in Scotts Valley for 17 years.
When Ferrara was hired by the City of Scotts Valley in 1988, the administrative offices had just moved from trailers that were falling apart at the site where the Scotts Valley Senior Center is now located.
Ferrara says she’s naturally inclined toward improving processes behind the scenes. She explains she became used to interacting with all kinds of people while in the military.
“You really have to work with a lot of different personalities,” she said. “I’ve always been pretty good at reading people.”
The council honored Ferrara in an official proclamation, Feb. 16, with Mayor Donna Lind commending her for her “instrumental” role in facilitating the relationship with Scotts Valley’s Sister City in Japan, Nichinan-cho.
“The City thanks Tracy for her years of dedicated public service and wishes her well in her retirement,” Lind proclaimed.
What was her secret to longevity at City Hall? Maintaining a positive attitude, she reveals.
“I just kind of always deal with whatever comes at me,” she said. “Good or bad, I try to make the best of things.”
Ferrara says she’s excited to see what the next chapter holds for Scotts Valley.
“There’s a lot of new, younger people who have come in now, and they’re interested in learning what we did in the past,” she said. “But they also have their own ideas.”
As much as she’d like to stay on, she knows now is the right time for her to step aside.
“I stayed much longer than I’d planned,” she said. “At some point, we have to call it.”