City Clerk Bio

Background

Carmen Avalos is a dedicated public servant with 16 years experience in City Clerk and Government operations, project management, budget management and community relations. Carmen was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and raised in South Gate where she attended South Gate schools.

On March 7, 2001 Carmen was elected as the first Mexican-American Bilingual City Clerk of South Gate. Ms. Avalos has developed a reputation as one of the state’s most skilled municipal leaders in her areas of expertise Elections and the Political Reform Act. She has been nominated City Clerk of the Year by her professional organization the California City Clerk’s Association and is a Certified City Clerk.

Prior to Carmen being elected as the City Clerk for the City of South Gate, Carmen began her career in public service at an early age working as a biomedical researcher both at UCLA School of Public Health and at USC Women’s Hospital. She focused much of her research on Cancer, Diabetes, Leukemia, as well as psychosocial stress. Some of her research has been published in various research journals.

Carmen’s love for helping others led her to transition into the teaching profession. She returned to her Alma Mater South Gate High School as a Biology Teacher. Her passion to advocate for others led her to run for office and proudly serve as the Elected City Clerk for the City of South Gate.

Carmen is known as a consummate government watchdog. She puts her talents to work by overseeing the implementation phase of records management to facilitate more accessibility of city records. She has successfully conducted City elections and helped to draft the California Voter Bill of Rights that was adopted in 2003 and is now part of each polling location material in the state of California. Carmen’s efforts to end corruption helped the City of South Gate recoup 15 million dollars with her expertise in archiving city records, files, meetings, contracts, and assisted in court proceedings that returned money back to the citizens of South Gate.

Under Carmen’s leadership, the city has efficiently enacted open data policies, directly contributing to increased transparency in each of the City’s departments. Behind Carmen’s efforts is her commitment to making government more accountable to the people and businesses she serves as South Gate’s City Clerk.

Education

Carmen Avalos commitment to adding value to the City propels her to continue furthering her education. She holds two Master’s degrees from California State University Long Beach and Northridge. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Teaching Credential from California State University Dominguez Hills. Carmen is a Notary Public and proud to be the first certified City Clerk for the City of South Gate and mentors other city clerk’s. She was nominated in 2003 as City Clerk of the Year by the City Clerks Association of CA. She has received numerous recognitions for her efforts to end corruption in South Gate. Her accomplishments have been recognized by the California State Senate and State Assembly. She currently also serves on the Cerritos Community College Board of Trustees, and has been a motivational speaker at many women’s conference and Latino organizations.

Through her desire to give back to the community and her belief that the people’s voices need to be heard, she gratefully serves as South Gate’s City Clerk.

Responsibilities of the Office of the City Clerk

  • Elections Official: Administers and Conducts Municipal Elections
  • Secretary: Serves as secretary to City Council, Successor Agency, Housing Authority, Public Access Corporation, Public Finance Authority, Oversight Board to Successor Agency, Measure P Oversight Board and Southeast Schools Coalition
  • Department Head: Serves as the Department Head for the Office of the City Clerk, managing staff and day to day operations
  • Filing Officer: Oversees compliance of Political Reform Act , 1974 that include filing of conflict of interest statements, campaign finance statements, and audits of these in accordance with the state laws
  • Administers the Oath of Office: For city elected officials and the Loyalty Oaths and Affirmations to all appointed city officials, city employees, and members of the public
  • Legislative Records Administration: Prepares and maintains the official legislative record and dissemination of approved legislative actions by the City Council
  • Records Management: Manages the official records, such as ordinances, resolutions, contracts, bonds, and sealed bids
  • Legal Notice Admin/Compliance: Oversees public hearing notices, compliance with the posting and publication of public notices, as required by law
  • Commissions: Receives and processes applications for appointment to City commissions, committees, and boards and maintains the membership roster
  • Historian: Maintains the history for City affiliated organizations and City Council records
  • Public Records Compliance Officer: Receives and processes public records requests, as required under the California Public Records Act
  • Municipal Code Reviewer: Oversees updates to the South Gate Municipal Code
  • Budget Administrator: Prepares and submits the City Clerk’s departmental budget for Council approval

FAQs

When are City Council meetings held?

Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers located in City Hall, 8650 California Avenue, South Gate. Agendas are available online and at the City Clerk’s Office. Most Recent City Council Agenda

How can I find out what is on the agenda for a particular City Council meeting?

Agendas are posted in accordance with and in compliance with Brown Act requirements. Agendas for regularly scheduled city council meetings are posted at least 72 hours before the meeting. The City Council agenda is posted at the two posting boards outside City Hall and at both the Weaver Library and the Hollydale Library. The complete agenda packet is posted online the Thursday prior to the upcoming City Council meeting and in the City Clerk’s Office. Most Recent City Council Agenda

If I go to a City Council meeting how do I address the council?

At every Regular City Council meeting there is "Comments from the Audience." During this time, members of the public and staff may address the City Council regarding any items within the subject matter jurisdiction of the City Council. Comments from the audience will be limited to 5 minutes per speaker unless authorized by the Mayor. There will be no debate or action on items not listed on the agenda unless authorized by law. Please call 323-563-9510 for more information.

How do I get a copy of the City Council meeting minutes?

Minutes are posted online or can be requested at the City Clerk’s Office as soon as they are approved by the City Council at a regularly scheduled Council Meeting. All Agendas and Minutes

How do I submit a Public Records Request?

You may request records online, by telephone, in writing, email, or by visiting City Hall (8650 California Avenue). Whichever method you use to request records from the City Clerk's Office, be as specific as you can as to the records you are looking for and also provide a specific time frame associated with the request. The Clerk's Office has 10 days in which to determine if the records are subject to disclosure. Upon payment of fee, records are either emailed, mailed or left with City Clerk staff to be picked up. Please call 323-563-9510 for more information.

Click here to submit online request.

Is there a fee for city records?

Copies (emailed or paper) for city records is $0.25 per page. However, for documents related to Campaign Disclosures under the Political Reform Act, the charge is $0.10 per page. Audio copies of City meetings are available for $5 per CD. Please call 323-563-9510 for more information.

Who accepts claims against the City of South Gate?

Claims against the City are accepted by the City Clerk’s Office. Please note that the City Clerk’s Office does not process claims against the City, this Office simply accepts the forms and submits them to the Administrative Services Department. A $29.00 filing fee is required for the filing of all liability claims. Claimants must submit the filing fee with the claim form.

City of South Gate Liability Claim Form(PDF, 433KB)

Where can I find a current salary chart for City Council Members, Elected Officials and employee’s of the City of South Gate?

This information is available as a Public Records Request through the City Clerk’s Office, and is available as part of the City’s Budget. Please call 323-563-9510 for more information.

Where can I find a list of phone numbers for different departments in city?

A city department phone list can be found in the City Clerk’s Office, and is available on the website. Staff Directory

How can I apply to be on a City Commission?

The City of South Gate encourages public participation in local government through its advisory bodies. These are boards, commissions, committees, and task forces that deal with a variety of issues and make recommendations to the City Council. Applicants must be city residents, and registered city voters. All applications will be kept on file for 1 year. Forms are available online and also in the City Clerk’s Office. Commissioner Application(PDF, 257KB)

Where do I get a dog license?

Dog licenses are available through the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA):

9777 Seaaca Street
Downey, CA 90242
Call 562-803-3301 for more information.

What are the addresses and phone numbers of the libraries in South Gate?

Leland R. Weaver Library
4035 Tweedy Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280
Phone: 323-567-8853

Hollydale Library
12000 Garfield Avenue
South Gate, CA 90280
Phone: 562-602-8016

What are the days and hours of operation for the City Museum?

The museum is open Wednesday’s from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Are birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and other vital records available through the City Clerk’s Office?

These records are provided by the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder located at:
12400 E. Imperial Highway
Norwalk, CA 90650

Please call 562-462-2137 for more information.