Watchdog: Antioch City Treasurer should remain an elected, not appointed position

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

Here we go again.  The City Council has once again decided on a ballot measure to make the City Treasurer an appointed position.  It will appear on the June ballot, in addition to the card room ballot measure.  Cost of placing the card room measure on the ballot is estimated to be $132,000 to $177,000, no additional cost to put the City Treasurer measure on the ballot at the same time.  The City is claiming, however, that by making the City Treasurer’s position an appointed position rather than an elected position the City would save $22,000.   Basically the savings would come from a future decision by Council to permit a finance director or existing staff member to take over the treasurer’s duties at the current salary.

State law requires a general law city, like Antioch, to have a city clerk and city treasurer.  The positions may be elected or appointed.  In 2012, 323 of California’s approximately 480 cities had an appointed city clerk, 307 had an appointed city treasurer.  Oakley and Brentwood both have appointed city clerks and city treasurers which, however, does not mean that Antioch should follow suit.

In case voters don’t remember, in June 2012 Council voted to place Measure L on the ballot.   If approved by a majority of voters, it would have made the offices of City Clerk and City Treasurer appointed rather than elected positions, allowing Council or the City Manager to make the appointment.  The results of the election:  29.15% YES votes, 70.85% NO votes.

When the question was asked “Shall the offices of city clerk and city treasurer be appointed”  the following basic argument was made against Measure L and still applies:  Keeping the positions elected means the voters hold the power, not Council who can fill the positions with their “rubber stamped” appointees.

Just look at Mayor Wade Harper’s recent request to remove Lamar Thorpe from the Antioch Economic Commission and Council Member Monica Wilson’s request to remove Thorpe as  one of her Standby Council Members.   Wilson recently admitted she signed the card room ballot petition filed by Thorpe, Patrice Guillary and LaTanya Harmon. That initiative, which will also be on the June ballot was sponsored by the California Grand Casino in Pacheco, in an attempt to eliminate competition. (Both Harper and Wilson are running for County Supervisor District 3 – Mary Piepho’s seat)

Prohibiting the public from voting on currently elected positions would only insulate City Council’s appointed cronies, preventing active, thinking, voting taxpayers the ability to publicly question their actions.  Folks, this is a Mayor and Council that can’t be trusted to appoint responsible people to city positions and are having to remove one of them, as a result.

I say it’s time for the public to start taking the reins back in our own hands.

2 Comments to “Watchdog: Antioch City Treasurer should remain an elected, not appointed position”

  1. Marty Fernandez says:

    This must continue to be an elected position. I am tired of having my rights as a voter continuously eroded. City clerk should continue to be an elected position and Arne Simonsen should be re-elected to the position. He has done a terrific job.

  2. Karl dietzel says:

    I just wonder when Antioch voters wake up and
    Notice that their input by election is being taken away
    piece by piece?

    Position given away by appointment open doors
    to putting a buddy in position.
    It’s interesting that the council is willing to eliminates a elected
    position to appointed position because one
    single person ask for it.
    How many people have ask to build a park down town
    and nothing happens?

    I am asking you to hire all still missing police officers,
    Then start hire the other promised 22 officers,
    (Measure c) then hire all cso’s back, and then
    Hire a fully staffed code enforcement.

    I hope council will vote on this next meeting

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