As my turn as mayor rotates to a close, I want to thank you all for your responses to my columns. It's always fun to hear from you.

Hank Stratford has been chosen as Clayton's new mayor and he will serve us all very well. He will be writing in this space next month.

We are so fortunate in Clayton to have a fantastic city staff who keep our town operating "in the black" and on sound financial footing despite the economy and the state's best attempts to derail us.

Our City Manager, Gary Napper, leads a great team, mentoring and coaching each of our employees to their best performance. They do their utmost to underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses, then pinch every penny as far as it can go. We truly appreciate their dedication.

This month, we are looking at some transitions within our small staff. Our longtime finance manager, Merry Pelletier, is retiring the end of the month after 13 years of service to our community. Happy retirement, Merry!

Kevin Mizuno joined our staff as our new finance manager Dec. 9. Kevin is a CPA and holds a bachelor of science in business administration from San Diego State, and he's also a CVHS grad.

Kevin is happy to return to his hometown and leave the daily travel required by his former position as a public agency auditor.

Likewise, our wonderful City Clerk and human resources manager Laci Jackson Kolc has moved on to bigger responsibilities in American Canyon. We wish her well in her new endeavors.

As we search for a permanent City Clerk, Janet Brown, a former 11-year administrative assistant for the city of Oakley will aid the transition. We welcome aboard Kevin and Janet.

As I look back over the past year, what stands out for me is our ever-energetic volunteers who do so much for our community. If you are interested in getting involved, they can all use new volunteers.

Clayton Community Library volunteers provide more charitable hours than any library in the county system and help keep our library running well. They also provide tutoring for many of our Clayton students.

The Clayton Business and Community Association sponsors many of our events, including last Saturday's annual downtown tree lighting with Santa and the Mt. Diablo Elementary School choir. It was a beautiful, cold wintry night and we all had a great time.

They also provide the decorations and put them up in the downtown each year. I know they'd appreciate help taking them down, too.

They are already actively planning for the spring Art & Wine Festival, the Rib Cook-off and fall Oktoberfest. They also help sponsor our Concerts in The Grove each summer, and provide thousands of dollars in scholarships to our local high school graduates.

The Clayton Sunrise Rotary, Clayton Valley Woman's Club, AAUW, sports teams and Scouting organizations can all use new members to do their good works throughout the year.

Next up on the calendar is CBCA's annual Mrs. Claus' Tea for the kiddies at Endeavor Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Santa will be there for photos, too!

The Clayton Historical Society Holiday Homes Tour is from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Tickets for the event can be purchased on the society website at claytonhistory.org or at the museum on Main Street on Sunday. This tour is a major fundraiser for the Clayton Museum. I hope to see you there.

Pierce is the former mayor of Clayton. Email her at transcript@bayareanewsgroup.com.