Lily Rossi, the former city clerk who for 23 years represented the “face” of City Hall for thousands of residents, died last week. In her post, Rossi exuded a combination of warmth, competence, and customer concern that was dramatically at odds with the stereotype of the indifferent bureaucrat. Rossi’s dedication to providing the public — and the press — with basic public information about city functions sometimes created tensions with the city administrators under whom she served. When she retired in 1998, Mayor Harriet Miller issued a public proclamation extolling her graciousness, generosity, kindness, and compassion. After retiring from the City of Santa Barbara, she served two years with the City of Goleta, then in its infancy.


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