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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure G
Special Measure
City of Concord

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 23848 / 58.27% Yes votes ...... 17077 / 41.73% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 8:18pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (73/73)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the office of the City Clerk be appointive?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
This measure places before the voters the question whether the city clerk should be an appointed rather than an elected 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, requiring that the person elected to this position must be a registered voter and resident of the city.

Many of the city clerk's duties are set forth in state law. For example, the city clerk records the minutes of City Council meetings, keeps records of ordinances and resolutions, and is the custodian for many other city records. The city clerk has additional duties defined in state law regarding municipal elections and compliance with conflict of interest laws. Election duties include preparing and publishing required legal documents for calling and holding municipal elections. With respect to conflict of interest laws, the city clerks serves as 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 from candidates for city elected offices and from groups supporting and opposing city ballot measures. The city clerk also performs other functions, such as administering oaths of office and certifying documents.

State law authorizes the City Council to place on the ballot the question whether the city clerk position should be made appointive. If a majority of the voters approve making the city clerk position appointive, the City Council will have the authority to appoint a person to this position upon the expiration of the current city clerk's term of office in November 2010, or earlier if there is a vacancy. The City Council could establish qualifications such as education, certification and experience, and could appoint the person determined to be best qualified, regardless of that person's place of voter registration or residence. By ordinance, the City Council could delegate its appointment authority to the City Manager. This measure would not change the duties of the city clerk as established pursuant to state law.

Craig Labadie
City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure G Arguments Against Measure G
The selection of the Concord City Clerk should be based on qualifications and experience, not on the results of a political campaign.

As our city has grown and local government has become more complex, the duties of the City Clerk have become more numerous and technical. The professional skills and expertise required are significant. The City Clerk serves as the secretary to the City Council and Redevelopment Agency, while remaining apolitical and neutral. The City Clerk's responsibilities include records management, municipal elections, conflict of interest regulations, and compliance with State and Federal laws. The City Clerk must understand the California Government Code, Elections Code, Brown Act, Public Records Act, Political Reform Act and Concord's Municipal Code.

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.

There is no guarantee that an elected City Clerk will possess the necessary skills and expertise.

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 Concord hiring an appointed City Clerk based on technical skill, education and experience. It is logical that the City Council or the City Manager appoint the City Clerk with the strongest technical, administrative and professional skills after a rigorous recruitment of qualified applicants. Once hired, the City Clerk will be held accountable for satisfactory performance of duties.

The statewide trend has been toward appointing (hiring) rather than electing City Clerks. Sixty-nine percent of California cities already appoint their City Clerks. The Concord City Council unanimously joins other organizations and individuals committed to quality local government in encouraging you to vote "YES" to support this logical and necessary change.

William D. Shinn, Mayor, City of Concord
Laura Hoffmeister, Chair, Concord Redevelopment Agency
Lynnet Keihl, Retired Concord City Clerk
Ashley Coates, President
League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley
Keith McMahon, President and CEO
Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce


Full Text of Measure G
The people of the City of Concord do hereby request:

The City Clerk shall no longer be an elective official of the City of Concord. From and after November 2, 2010, or upon an earlier vacancy in the office of City Clerk, the City Clerk shall be appointed by the City Council. The City Clerk so appointed shall hold office at the pleasure of the City Council and, notwithstanding California Government Code Section 36502 to the contrary, is not required to be a resident or elector in the City. The City Council may by ordinance vest in the City Manager its authority to appoint the City Clerk.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:31 PST
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