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In Memory of Stan Caldwell, CSDA Board Member and Past President

By Vanessa Gonzales posted 01-30-2023 03:02 PM

Stan Caldwell receiving the William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence in 2021
Photo : CSDA Past President Ryan Clausnitzer, CSDM; CSDA CEO Neil McCormick; and Stan Caldwell receiving the 2021 William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence

With heavy hearts, the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) shares the difficult news of the passing of our beloved CSDA Board Member and Past President Stan Caldwell. Simple words cannot describe the impact Stan’s dedication and leadership has had on CSDA as well as special districts in Contra Costa County and throughout the State. Stanley “Stan” Caldwell began serving on CSDA committees in 2006 and on the CSDA Board of Directors representing the Bay Area Network from 2009 until his passing. He was elected Treasurer in 2011 and President of CSDA in 2012. Sadly, Stan passed away on January 15, 2023.

“So many of Stan’s peers and colleagues appreciated and admired his dedication to both CSDA and special districts statewide. He truly loved being part of our association, leading his local chapter, and serving the public,” said CSDA CEO Neil McCormick. “Stan played a significant role in CSDA’s growth over many years and it was an honor to work with him. His passion for districts and public service will carry-on in the work we do on behalf of our members.”

When Stan Caldwell moved to Contra Costa County in the summer of 1978, the area would have had no way to predict the many ways this one man would contribute to their community.  The county population at the time was under 600,000 people.  It has since swelled to nearly double the size according to the 2020 census. Stan took up residency at a time when the community was growing quickly and needed community involvement to organize and manage the planning and growth. One of his first indelible acts of community organization was to help establish alternate access to the local landfill which would decrease the heavy truck traffic through narrow neighborhood streets. Stan had the pleasure of serving on the committee which was to determine where Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) should be used. The funds were ultimately used for Safety Paths for two local schools and reconstruction of Arthur Road (which included widening the roadway, installing storm drains, and sidewalks). Shortly after this time the landfill trucks were re-routed, resulting in a much safer neighborhood.

It was Stan’s comprehensive perspective and enthusiastic support of the structure of government known as special districts that earned him the prestigious 2021 William Hollingsworth Award for Excellence, the highest honor award given from CSDA. Stan didn’t stop with the road planning in his own neighborhood: He went on to make an impact on special districts everywhere through his commitment and leadership in CSDA. 

One of the key aspects of CSDA’s work is a constant effort to inform the public of the function and necessity of special districts in California. Stan was a champion of districts throughout his career and recognized there are significant opportunities for the special district community to better educate all stakeholders within the communities they serve to both communicate the value and the needs of special districts and why their function is so critically important. Stan was the recipient of the 2019 CSDA Board Member of the Year Award.

Stan Caldwell receiving the 2019 CSDA Board Member of the Year Award Photo: Stan Caldwell receiving the 2019 CSDA Board Member of the Year Award with CSDA CEO Neil McCormick and Marty Boyer of Communication Advantage

“It was a privilege and an honor to work with Stan. Throughout my 35-year career in public service, I have never met anyone more committed to serving the public than Stan Caldwell. He was a mentor and friend. Stan’s significant contribution to CSDA, the Contra Costa County Special District’s Association Chapter, and the water/wastewater industry will continue to benefit special districts throughout California for many years to come. I will miss Stan’s welcoming character and genuine friendliness. Thank you for everything, Stan Caldwell! You will be missed!” 
- CSDA Bay Area Network Board Director Chad Davisson, CSDM, and Ironhouse Sanitary District General Manager

Stan Caldwell receiving the CSDA President gavel from Dewy Ausmus in 2012

Photo: Stan Caldwell receiving the CSDA president's gavel from CSDA Past President Dewey Ausmus in 2012

“Stan and I got to know each other on our commute between the Bay Area and CSDA Board meetings in Sacramento where our family members sometimes joined us along for the ride. During these trips, I saw Stan as a good father and husband who was in public service for the right reasons: To improve the community through listening and making informed decisions. He inspired me, and I know others, because of his commitment and pride as an elected official of a special district, his involvement with LAFCo, and as a CSDA Past-President and long-time Director. I’ll miss the big guy.”
- CSDA Bay Area Network Board Director Ryan Clausnitzer, CSDM, and Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District General Manager

Stan completed the Special District Leadership Academy and received his Certificate in Special District Governance. He was elected to the Mt. View Sanitary District (MVSD) Board of Directors in 1993 and continued to serve in this capacity until his passing. At the district, Stan has held the seats of Vice-President and President of the Board, has served on the District’s Finance and Public Information/Public Outreach Committees, and served as liaison to the Contra Costa Special District Association (CCSDA) and the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) as a special district alternate member. Continuing to demonstrate his commitment to service, he served on the Institute for Local Government Board of Directors and was also a Board Member on the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF).

We will miss Stan Caldwell; but we cherish, remember, and benefit from his contributions to CSDA, special districts, and all others listed above because he simply made them and us better. 

Stan Caldwell receiving the CSDA Board Member of the Year award in 2019

Photo: Stan Caldwell giving his CSDA Board Member of the Year Award acceptance speech in 2019