Excellence With Integrity
The motto for my office is excellence with integrity. As Yolo County’s Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections Official, I am humbled by the achievements of the staff members who perform the work of the department and by their tremendous successes. Since my appointment by the Board of Supervisors in 2016 and my election to the office in 2018, the department has received two national awards, successfully closed the property tax assessment roll on time five years running, and completed the transition to a new recorder and election system.
How is the office achieving excellence with integrity? Through fairness, innovation, and civic engagement.
The county Assessor is tasked with being fair to all residents and businesses owning property within Yolo County. The assessed value of their property determines the amount of property tax owed. Completing fair assessments means finding solutions that work in all areas of the County, urban and rural. Demonstrating fairness is vital to the integrity of our office and highlights our commitment to excellence. This commitment includes finding creative ways to help local businesses during difficult times, while still meeting the constitutional mandate to assess all properties in a fair and equitable manner. While serving as Chair of California Assessors’ Association’s Legislative Committee, I worked with state leaders to develop and pass an Executive Order granting businesses an extension for filing their business property tax statements during the 2020 pandemic. This unprecedented extension provided struggling businesses throughout Yolo County the additional time they needed to avoid filing penalties.
Yolo County’s Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections (ACE) office is dedicated to integrating current technology into all that we do in the office. In 2019, Yolo County’s ACE was awarded a Clearinghouse Award by the United States Election Commission for Outstanding Innovation in Elections under the category best practices in election administration. The award recognized our department’s innovative use of technology to better track polling place resources, improve service response time, strengthen voter communications, and expand future voter turnout via streamlined election night reporting and wider dissemination of voter information.
In the Clerk-Recorder office, we are offering an online marriage application, while also transitioning to a new recorder system that allows electronic recording of documents. This new system is improving our recording process — saving time for businesses and residents, as well as ACE staff. Electronic recording is a first for Yolo County.
What is more vital to our democracy than an informed citizenry? In 2019, the department’s “YES!” partnership program received a Guardian Award for Promoting and Exemplifying Professional Principles and Standards by the Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials. “YES!”, which stands for Youth Empowerment Summit, is a one-day countywide collaborative event encouraging students from across Yolo County to vote. Students receive training in positive civic engagement, which focuses on how to recognize false social media postings. They learn the basic principles of governing and the ways in which local government impacts their daily lives. During the summit, students meet with local elected officials to discuss issues they care about. The “YES” program promotes youth voter participation as well as the tools for communicating with local elected officials. It helps youth to create and appreciate the value of a dynamic, responsive and civic engagement environment.
In Yolo County, we serve citizens who speak other languages besides or in addition to English. In the Elections’ office, we have made it a priority to provide voting instructions, ballot information, and ballots to voters whose primary language is not English. Our County’s innovative and successful efforts to make voting materials more accessible to all have been recognized at state and national conferences. Previously, we had been ranked last in language accessibility. Today, in what is regarded as the “Yolo County turnaround,” we are ranked among the best in the state. http://www.davisenterprise.com/features/name-droppers-yolos-language-outreach-to-voters-lauded/
These outreach efforts are entirely non-partisan, as they address the civic rights of all in our democratic society.
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Who is Jesse?
Jesse Salinas is the Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections (ACE) Official for Yolo County, California. Due to his insights on elections, Jesse has been quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, local papers and other news outlets, such as National Public Radio.
Jesse received his bachelor’s degree from U.C. Santa Cruz with a major in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science. After spending a year interning for Santa Cruz County Supervisor Gary Patton, Jesse attended the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley, where he received his Master’s degree in Public Policy.
Upon graduating, Jesse worked for the California School Boards Association as its first research analyst, providing in-depth and comprehensive analysis on key issues then shaping the state’s education policy discussion, such as the 1992 Voucher Initiative. Because of this work, the State Senate’s President Pro Tem David Roberti hired Jesse to be his senior consultant on all kindergarten thru higher education issues. Jesse spent three years working in the Capitol, where he helped balance California’s education budget and, at the request of education committee leadership, led efforts to develop and process emergency education legislation after the Northridge earthquake. This legislation became law in less than three weeks.
Jesse spent the next eight years working in the nonprofit sector, where he served three years as an Executive Director of a statewide organization, Communities in Schools of California. However, due to his strong passion for public policy and public service, he returned to employment in local government.
For 10 years, Jesse served Yolo County as a principal management analyst in both the County Administrator’s Office and the Department of Financial Services. He had responsibility for overseeing as many as 10 different departments. His duties included forecasting and monitoring the county’s major revenues, managing the countywide master fee schedule, and leading efforts to ensure that Yolo County staff received training in national supervisory and leadership best practices.
In addition to his professional work, Jesse coached youth soccer for 20 years. During his coaching tenure, he received the rare distinction of being elected by his players four times to Who’s Who of America’s Teachers. For five years, Jesse served on the City of Woodland’s Parks and Recreation Commission, the past three as chair.
In 2014, he helped lead efforts to pass a City of Woodland ballot measure that extended a quarter cent sales tax. This measure is annually generating over a million dollars in funds for youth and public safety programs.
On April 5, 2016, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors appointed Jesse as its new Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections Official. His first day in office was May 2, 2016. Since then, Jesse has successfully overseen six countywide elections, including two Presidential Primaries and General Elections. He has efficiently completed five County Assessment Rolls on-time, even during a pandemic year. Jesse has served on the legislative committees of the Election, Recorder and Assessor Associations, helping to craft statewide policy on these critical local government functions.
Jesse’s innovative outreach efforts to youth and underrepresented communities have been commended by California’s leadership and by county election officials throughout the state. Based on this success and his commitment to collaboration and partnership, he was invited to speak on a panel at the 2017 Future of California Elections’ annual voter engagement/voting rights conference. Local media outlets have highlighted Jesse’s commitment to transparency and youth engagement. Jesse was elected into office in 2018 with 70% of the vote and will run for re-election in 2022.
On a personal note, Jesse has been married for 35 years to his college sweetheart and is the proud parent of three children, all of whom live in California and work in the high-tech industry. He has two grandsons, whom he describes as an amazing and joyful blessing.