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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Measure N
Office of City Clerk
City of Pittsburg

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 4,417 / 42.85% Yes votes ...... 5,892 / 57.15% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 23 10:05am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (22/22)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the office of city clerk be appointive?

Impartial Analysis from Pittsburg City Attorney
This measure places before the voters the question of whether the city clerk should be an appointive, rather than an elective, position.

Currently, the city clerk is elected every four years as provided by state law. State law also establishes the qualifications for a city clerk. State law requires that the person elected to this position be a registered voter and resident of the city.

Many of the duties of the city clerk are also established by state law. For instance, the city clerk records the minutes of Council meetings and is the custodian of many of the city's records. The clerk also has duties defined in state law with respect to municipal elections and compliance with state and local conflict of interest laws. The election duties include preparing and publishing required legal documents for calling and holding municipal elections. With respect to conflict of interest laws, the city clerk is the filing officer for statements of economic interests that are required of city officials and designated employees, and for campaign contribution and expenditure statements that are required of candidates for city elected officers and from groups supporting and opposing city ballot measures.

State law also provides that the City Council may place the question on the ballot of whether the city clerk should be appointed by the City Council. If a majority of voters approve, this measure would make the office appointive and, upon the expiration of the current city clerk's term or on a vacancy in the office, future city clerks would be appointed by the City Council or by the City Manager, if the Council vests in the City Manager this responsibility.

If the voters approve making the office of city clerk an appointed position, the City Council would have the opportunity to establish qualifications for the city clerk and to appoint the person the Council found best qualified regardless of that person's place of residence. An appointed city clerk would hold that position at the pleasure of the City Council. The duties of the city clerk as fixed by state law would remain unchanged.

Ruthann G. Ziegler
City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure N
The selection of the City Clerk for Pittsburg should be based on qualifications and experience not the results of a political campaign.

Demands on the City Clerk have evolved over the past few decades. The complexities of the position have increased and the technical skills and knowledge required are significant. The Clerk's responsibilities include: city records management, elections oversight, compliance with conflict of interest regulations and federal/state laws and administration of the legislative process for the City.

Logic demands that the City Council select the City Clerk following a screening designed to recruit and hire the person with the strongest technical, administrative and professional skills. Once hired, an appointed Clerk can be held accountable to perform to the same standards established for other administrative executive staff.

By State law, the only qualifications to serve as an elected City Clerk are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age and
  • Must be a registered voter within the City

The public expects and deserves that the duties of the City Clerk will be performed with professionalism and efficiency. This can best be accomplished by selecting a person to serve based on technical skill, education and relevant experience.

Statewide the trend has moved towards appointed rather than elected City Clerks. 70% of California cities appoint their City Clerks. The Pittsburg City Council unanimously joins many groups and individuals committed to quality local government in encouraging you to support this logical and necessary change.

Your yes vote ensures the duties of the City Clerk are performed by an administrative professional selected based on their knowledge, education, training and qualifications.

Nancy L. Parent,
Mayor of Pittsburg

Lillian J. Pride,
City Clerk of Pittsburg

Mary Erbez,
Former City Clerk of Pittsburg

(No arguments against Measure N were submitted)

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Created: January 28, 2006 14:39 PST
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