Atascadero city clerk and treasurer positions go up for votes

April 28, 2016

atascadero_sign_photoAtascadero 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.



  1. October says:

    The cities I am familiar with who have an elected city clerk also have a full-time person who does the actual clerking duties because the elected official is mostly a figurehead. Many times the full-time person will run for election and end up with both jobs. I was at one city where this was the case and this person ended up going overboard when it came to shredding documents. They were fired from their full-time position because of it, but the City couldn’t get rid of them completely because they had to serve out their term as the elected official. Needless to say, it was very awkward and a waste of taxpayer money.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    If the voters choose to have appointed staff for these positions, the voters will then get to fund more retirees too. If that be the case, get used to crappy roads, stiff tickets and so on.

    (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
  3. citygirl says:

    Of course more pay, that is all these gov’t people want to do is give away more of OUR money. I think they should be elected so when the people don’t like the job they are doing we can get rid of them.

    Either that or if we let the city manager hire them it is not with more money since they won’t have to run a campaign.

    (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
  4. kayaknut says:

    The fact that San Luis Obispo’s incompetent city manager Katie Lichtig hires the positions should put enough concern in the Atascadero’s voters to keep it so that they elect the positions

    (17) 21 Total Votes - 19 up - 2 down
  5. Rich in MB says:


    Folks you do NOT want to give the City Manager that much power and control,

    Power Corrupts remember how it goes folks….

    Don’t do it.

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down

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