Atascadero city clerk and treasurer positions go up for votes
April 28, 2016
Atascadero voters will decide whether the city clerk and treasurer roles remain elected positions or will become jobs controlled by the city manager. The Atascadero City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to put the issue on the November ballot. [Tribune]
Among San Luis Obispo County cities, only Atascadero and Paso Robles elect city clerks and treasurers. The city managers of the other five cities appoint clerks and treasurers.
Duties of the city clerk include record keeping, certification of official documents, conducting elections, giving oaths and responding to public record requests. The treasurer deposits, secures and maintains all public funds; sits on the city finance committee; and is responsible for managing the city’s investment portfolio.
Proponents of appointing, rather than electing, city clerks and treasurers say it is difficult to attract qualified and politically objective candidates in a community the size of Atascadero. Supporters of the measure include Atascadero’s current city clerk and treasurer.
City clerk Marcia Torgerson retired from the position of Atascadero deputy city manager in December. Treasurer Gere Sibbach previously worked as the appointed treasurer of the city of Morro Bay.
Both Torgerson’s term and Sibbach’s term expire in December 2018. If voters approve the ballot measurers, the positions will convert to appointed jobs at the conclusion of Torgerson’s and Sibbach’s terms.
Torgerson and Sibbach currently receive a $200 monthly stipend and health benefits valued at $11,300. Their health benefits for 2017 are anticipated to be worth $14,800. The stipend will increase to $400 in January.
Appointed city workers receive much higher pay. In 2014, the city clerks for Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande received total compensation ranging from $106,000 to $140,000, according to the Transparent California database.
The city clerk and treasurer positions in Atascadero have been elected since the city incorporated in 1979. In accordance with California law, the only requirements to run for the offices are being at least 18 years old, living in the city and being a registered voter in Atascadero.
Of California’s 482 cities, 73 percent appoint their clerks, and 66 percent appoint treasurers.
The Atascadero ballot measures will cost the city about $3,000.