Measure C on the Nov. 5 Special Election ballot in South Pasadena asks voters if the Office of the City Clerk should be appointive (appointed like heads of such departments as police and public works).
I held the position of City Clerk from 2000-2013. At that time, the position was both elected and appointed. I was subject to election every four years, and I was also a full-time employee with benefits.
Now there are two positions: one is held by a full-time, experienced, appointed employee with credentials who manages the Office of the City Clerk and who is hired and evaluated like other department/division heads. This is the Chief City Clerk.
The other is part-time, ceremonial, and elected: the City Clerk. To be elected to the position of City Clerk, all that is required to file for election is that the person be a registered voter in the city. The City Clerk is not subject to performance evaluations.
I say yes, the person running the Office of the City Clerk should be appointed. This is a highly responsible and complex position (see below for the credentials and experience needed to oversee the Office of the City Clerk and examples of responsibilities).
If a majority of voters say yes to Measure C, the Chief City Clerk will become the official City Clerk.
The position of elected City Clerk is required by the city’s Municipal Code. It can only be changed by the voters. Measure C is asking voters if they want to change the law and eliminate this position.
Because the hired Chief City Clerk can carry out all of the duties of the Office, including such ceremonial ones as administering oaths of office, the position of elected City Clerk is not needed.
If a majority of voters vote yes on Measure C, the position of elected City Clerk will be eliminated.
If a majority vote no, the position of elected City Clerk will remain with ceremonial duties. This entails a cost of $3,600 per year for the clerk’s stipend plus costs to the city of adding an election measure to the ballot every four years.
I support voting yes on Measure C and eliminating the position of the elected City Clerk.
Former City Clerk 2000-2013
Elected & Full-time employee
The required experience and duties of the individual overseeing the Office of the City Clerk include:
- Experience: Certification through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and in-depth background in all facets of the role. Critically important is extensive experience conducting elections with limited resources. In addition, the position requires knowledge of laws governing meetings of elected and appointed officials, public notices, initiatives and referenda, public records requests, claims and subpoenas, and political filings with the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
- Example of responsibilities: The individual manages all matters pertaining to the City Council. This includes overseeing regular and special meetings (perhaps 30/year), ordinances and their transfer into the print and electronic Municipal Code, resolutions, and presentations. It involves researching and preparing proclamations, certificates, staff reports, agendas, minutes, website postings, and legal notices. The Office ensures broadcasting and online streaming of meetings and other technical requirements. The City Clerk’s Office provides support for individual City Councilmembers in their role, including acting as a liaison with the public and ensuring that requests from councilmembers are fulfilled.
- Knowing the legal and organizational requirements for the city’s unusually large number of commissions and committees constitutes another major area of responsibility.
- The City Clerk also performs as a Notary for city documents and is licensed by the state to do so. The City Clerk’s office also fulfills and responds to a wide range of requests from city staff and members of the public. In addition, the City Clerk manages support staff. Other duties are too numerous to list.
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