In Oceanside, you only need to be 18 and a resident to be city treasurer. It may change

Oceanside, one of the few California cities still electing its city treasurer, is preparing to establish its first minimum qualifications for the position.

Starting next month, city council will consider new standards for the position, prompted in part by recent complaints about City Treasurer Victor Roy, whose qualifications were called into question during a recent public dispute with an employee of his office. desk.

An independent investigation commissioned by the city attorney found Roy had engaged in ‘quarrels’ and ‘petty workplace disputes’, and it confirmed a departmental report that Roy had uploaded footage naked from a public computer in the municipal library.

Despite these problems, the investigation revealed that Roy had fulfilled his required duties as treasurer. According to the report by Huntington Beach law firm Zappia, all of the financial losses in the city’s $450 million portfolio were the result of widespread market fluctuations, not Roy’s direction.

Roy declined to discuss the issues in the report, saying only that the city’s investments remained safe under his watch.

State law requires each city to have a city treasurer, although the position can be elected or appointed. Five of San Diego County’s 18 cities have elected treasurers — Carlsbad, Escondido, La Mesa, National City and Oceanside. The position is considered part-time in each city.

The City Treasurer appointment allows for a much broader recruiting process and specific standards for applicants’ education and background. Candidates could come from anywhere in the country, instead of just the city. The downside is that an appointed treasurer is responsible to an administrator, such as the city manager, and not to the electorate.

Roy earned a degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970, according to the Zappia report. He retired after 27 years in the aviation industry ground handling and has experience with CDs, bonds and other types of investments, he said.

Oceanside voters rejected a ballot measure by a 3-to-1 margin in March 2020 that would have moved both the city treasurer and city clerk to appointed positions.

Oceanside isn’t the only North County town where voters prefer to elect their treasurer. In nearby Carlsbad, ballot measures that would have moved the position to an appointee were defeated in 1990, 1980, 1964 and 1956, a city official said.

Unlike Oceanside, where any registered voter who is at least 18 years old can run for treasurer, Carlsbad has minimum requirements for the position. Carlsbad requires applicants to have a four-year college degree in finance or a business-related field and four years of work experience in finance at the time of posting their application.

National City voters rejected the change by a 52% majority in 2020, but in November they will vote again on a possible move to nominations. National City Treasurer Mitch Beauchamp is a former city council member first elected to the financial position in 2008. He was unopposed for re-election in 2020.

The duties of a city treasurer are defined by state and local laws, so they may vary from city to city.

Oceanside’s municipal code states that the city treasurer must work with the chief financial officer to ensure that the city follows an investment policy adopted by the city council.

The treasurer can recommend changes to the policy to council, but makes no actual investment. Full-time city employees are responsible for the actual investment and management of the money.

Oceanside officials said earlier this month they were considering contracting an outside investment management firm to replace their full-time treasury director, Steve Hodges, who will step down on November 1. .

“We’re taking a different approach (than in the past) to this function for the city,” Deputy City Manager Michael Gossman said earlier in the month. “There are plenty of businesses both locally and across the state that provide these types of services.”

The city treasurer is a watchdog and it’s important to have a qualified official in that role, said Haney Hong, president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

“You want people who are experts in finance and accounting,” Hong said in a recent phone interview.

Whether the person is elected or appointed is less important than whether the person is well qualified to do the job, he said. The City Manager and City Council also have oversight responsibilities.

“You don’t get more watchdog just by getting someone elected,” he said. “Look at the federal government. We elect a position, the President of the United States, and he puts in experts in their respective fields.

No special qualifications are required to run for president, Hong said. The only requirements are that the applicant be at least 35 years old and a US citizen.

“You have to be careful when you put requirements on elective positions,” he said. “It can get very subjective…if people start piling on additional demands.”

A date is different, he says. The job becomes more of a technical position with a lot of detail work to do, and therefore more specific qualifications as to education and experience are required.

The California Municipal Treasurers Association is the professional society for public treasurers of counties, cities, and special districts in California.

It has about 300 members, about half of whom are elected and the other half are appointed, an employee at the Sacramento office said Wednesday.

About a third of the association’s members are certified California municipal treasurers, including Oceanside’s Victor Roy, the employee said.

Certification requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum of two years of treasury, finance, or investment experience, or six years of related financial experience.

Maintaining certification requires 20 hours of continuing professional education per year, which may include time spent at conferences and webinars.

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