By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
The City Clerk’s Race is interesting because of the number of candidates running, and because it is a wide-open race, and you don’t have any candidates from the City Clerk’s Office running, though Peggi Hazlett does work for the City as Assistant to the Mayor, as she did when I was a Deputy City Attorney (under Mayor Valles).
Why are the candidates interested in this race? While no doubt the warring camps of San Bernardino City Hall each have a candidate, short of being personal friends with the candidates, there is no way of knowing the motivations, other than a longing to do public service and a commitment to the City. If anyone is running for a spring-board to further political ambitions, historically, this has not been a good first step, though a previous City Clerk did become City Administrator.
The compensation for San Bernardino City Clerk (obtained from the State of California Controller’s Office for calendar year 2009, the most recent data available:
|City Clerk Administration
Presumably, the new Clerk (will be at a lower pension formula adopted (2%@55) with the possible exception of Peggi Hazlett. The City Clerk’s salary is set by the Mayor and Common Council pursuant to San Bernardino City Charter Section 24-B. The Clerk will be going in at the beginning of the salary range shown above.
Because San Bernardino is a charter city, the duties of the City Clerk are set by the Charter and by ordinance of the Mayor and Common Council, and other duties arising out of California law, such as duties under the Political Reform Act.
Section 60 of the San Bernardino City Charter says:
Section 60. Duties. The duties of the City Clerk shall be to keep the corporate seal and all books, papers, records and other documents belonging to his/her office, attend all meetings of the Mayor and Common Council and keep a journal of the proceedings. He/She shall have full power and authority to take all affidavits and administer all oaths necessary in the transaction of city business, but shall make no charge therefor. His/Her official books and records shall be kept properly indexed and be open to public inspection during office hours. He/She shall number and keep a record of all demands allowed and certified to him/her, showing the date of approval, to whom the same is allowed, the nature of the claim, and the fund out of which the same is payable. He/She shall issue all licenses and countersign all warrants on the City Treasury, except warrants of the boards, and shall do and perform all other acts required of him/her by this Charter, or by ordinance, or which may be required of him/her by the Mayor and Common Council.
The Charter also includes other duties of the Clerk, such as being an ex-officio secretary of the Water Board. San Bernardino City Charter section 168.
There is actually a job description adopted by the Mayor and Common Council on January 24, 2011 (according to the document, I was not able to find it in the staff report for that date) and available on the City’s website. This description may be useful in helping voters determine which candidate to pick.
The first section of the document is labeled “Job Summary” and it says:
As an elected official and under legislative policy direction from the Mayor and City Council, plans, organizes, manages, directs and coordinates the programs and activities of the City Clerk’s Office; serves as clerk/recorder for the City Council; directs the City’s business registration program, provides policy guidance and expert professional assistance to City departments in areas of responsibility; and performs related duties as assigned.
The next section is labeled “Distinguishing Characteristics:”
City Clerk is an elected position, responsible for managing and integrating a variety of programs and services that enable the Mayor and City Council and City departments to accomplish City business efficiently and effectively while ensuring that procedures and processes meet legal requirements and are implemented with integrity. The incumbent manages a variety of programs and services including: business registration and collection of business, transient occupancy and utility taxes: issuance of U.S. passports; a records management and document imaging program; maintenance of official City records; Statements of Economic Interest; and analysis and enforcement of laws pertaining to elections, public records and conflict of interest. As City Clerk, the incumbent is responsible for preparation of Council agenda and minutes and for conduct of City elections, including election and campaign financing disclosure. Many City Clerk functions and activities are prescribed [sic] by the City Charter, Municipal Code and other state and federal laws. Assignments are broad in scope and allow for a high degree of administrative discretion in their execution.
The document continues with “Essential Duties and Responsibilities:”
The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the class.
1. Plans, organizes, controls, manages and evaluates the work of the City Clerk’s office; with subordinate managers and supervisors, participates in establishing operational plans and initiatives to meet department goals and objectives; implements departmental plans, work programs, processes, procedures and policies required to achieve overall department performance results; coordinates and integrates department functions and responsibilities to achieve optimal efficiency and effectiveness; participates in developing and monitoring performance against the annual departmental budget.
2. Participates with the City Manager, elected officials and other managers in establishing strategic plans for the City; sets overall management and policy goals and objectives for the City Clerk’s Office with the administrative and legislative framework established by the City Manger and the Mayor and City Council; coordinates department program and policy issues with managers of other departments and/or on a City-wide basis.
3. Plans and evaluates the performance of supervisors and staff; establishes performance requirements and personal development targets; monitors performance and provides coaching for performance improvement and development; provides or recommends compensation and other rewards to recognize performance; takes disciplinary action, up to and including termination, to address performance deficiencies, subject to management concurrence, in accordance with the City’s human resources policies and procedures, Civil Service Commission Rules and labor contract provisions.
4. Provides leadership and works with supervisors and staff to develop and retain highly competent, customer service-oriented staff through selection, compensation, training and day-to-day management practices that support the City’s mission, strategic goals and core values.
5. Attends CIty Council meetings and directs preparation of the agenda and supporting materials; takes minutes, records votes and administers oaths or affirmations; direct the documentation, maintenance and dissemination of all City Council actions including minutes, ordinances, resolutions, agreements and deeds; prepares requests for Council action; directs the legal posting and publication of notices, postings, ordinances, bids and public hearings to ensure Brown Act requirements are met; attends pre-agenda meetings and agenda briefings.
6. Directs and coordinates a records management program for official City records and archives; acts as custodian of official, permanent ordinances, resolutions and other documents for which the City Clerk’s Office is the office of record; review resolutions and ordinances for correctness and codifies ordinances in the City’s Municipal Code; periodically publishes and distributes Municipal Code updates.
7. Directs and manages the City’s business registration program; manages the issuance of all business registrations and collection of business registration taxes; directs the collection of transient occupancy and utility taxes; directs review of applications and issuance of U.S. passports in accordance with requirements of the U.S. Passport Agency.
8. Plans, supervises, coordinates and administers the conduct of municipal elections; plans voter outreach initiatives and directs the registration of voters; in collaboration iwth the City Attorney ensures the legality of election proceedings in accordance with state and local election and campaign financing laws; administer procedures for filing Statements of Economic Interest and campaign financing statements and reporting; notifies affected parties of FPPC requirements and deadlines and answers questions regarding filing issues from the Mayor and City Council, designated City employees, candidates, consultants, the media and the public; certifies election results.
9. Analyzes and ensures compliance with local, state and federal laws pertaining to public records, municipal elections, campaign financing and conflict of interest and advises the City Manager and the Mayor and City Council regarding the requirements of such legislation.
10. Researches and prepares reports for the City Manager and the Mayor and City Council; works closely with the City Manger, Mayor, City Council, City departments, other public and private entities, the media and the public in providing public records information and services, responds to and resolves difficult and sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints, assists the public and CIty staff by providing information and research assistance; certifies the authenticity of City documents.
11. Maintains official custody of the City seal and shares signatory power on ordinance,s resolutions and agreements; certifies copies of official documents.
12. Receives the services of claims and subpoenas on behalf of the City; officiates at bid openings and prepares or directs the preparation of related documents.
13. Participates in a variety of public relations activities on behalf of the City, including liaison with Sister City representatives, Chambers of Commerce, community organizations and the media.
14. Attends professional and community events and meetings.
15. Notarizes official documents as necessary.
The job description continues with a section titled “General Qualifications:”
1. Policies, procedures and requirements governing the actions of an elected City Council and the general functions of a municipal government.
2. Organization, functions, procedures and rules of the Council and Council Committees.
3. City Charter and Municipal Code provisions related to the operations of the City Clerk’s function and matters which come before the Council and its Committees.
4. The Brown Act, Roberts Rules of Order, parliamentary procedure and other rules and procedures governing the notice and conduct of public hearings.
5. The California State Election Code and other applicable ordinances and laws pertaining to the conduct of municipal elections.
6. The California Public Records Act and other applicable federal, state and local law governing the maintenance and retention of public records.
7. Other federal, state and local laws, regulations and court decisions applicable to assigned areas of responsibility.
8. Principles and practices of public administration, including budgeting, purchasing, contract administration and maintenance of public records.
9. Research methods and analysis techniques.
10. Principles and practices of sound business communication.
11. Principles and practices of effective management and supervision.
12. City human resources policies and procedures, Civil Service Commission Rules and labor contract provisions.
1. Plan, organize, direct, integrate and evaluate a variety of City Clerk’s Office programs and services.
2. Develop and implement goals, objectives, policies, procedures and internal controls.
3. Analyze, interpret, explain and apply complex legal documents, contracts and administrative procedures and regulations.
4. Analyze complex technical and administrative problems, evaluate alternatives and adopt effective courses of action.
5. Prepare clear, concise and comprehensive correspondence, minutes, reports, studies and other written materials.
6. Plan, organize and coordinate effective municipal elections.
7. Prepare and present organized and accurate oral reports.
8. Exercise sound expert judgment with general policy guidelines.
9. Exercise tact and diplomacy in dealing with sensitive and complex issues and situations.
10. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the City Manager, Mayor, Council members, departments directors and staff, customers, professional and community organizations, the media, the public and others encountered in the course of work.
The Minimum qualifications are listed as “Education, Training and Experience: As determined by the electors of the City of San Bernardino.”
While the document is chock-full of human resources jargon, it can be a good tool for voters to use in choosing a candidate. As far as I can tell, none of the candidates have been a City Clerk, and none have worked in a City Clerk’s Office. The downside of the document is that in some ways it reflects how City Clerk Rachel Clark has run the office. The new City Clerk has the opportunity, within the bounds of the law, to reshape the environment in the office, including its employees, and changing the discretionary duties of the office.
Charter Section 242 reads:
Section 242. Qualifications of City Employees and Appointment. The Mayor and Common Council may prescribe the number, qualification and
compensation of the deputies, clerks, assistants, employees and attaches of the City Attorney, City Treasurer and City Clerk. All deputies, clerks, assistants,
attaches and employees of the City Attorney, City Clerk and City Treasurer shall be appointed by the respective officers with the consent and approval of the Mayor
and Common Council, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the officers appointing them.
This section means that the new City Clerk can, to some degree, start with a fresh plate and get rid of the existing staff. That’s far more likely to happen in the City Attorney’s Office than the Clerk’s Office, but that decision is up to the City Clerk.
Reading the job description, the City Clerk needs to have management skills, knowledge of how the City works, knowledge of the law, basic grasp of the English language, and the ability to work well with others. Of course, the actual requirement is election to office is in the Charter: “Section 235. Qualification of officers. The City Clerk and City Treasurer shall have been qualified electors and residents of the City for a period of at least thirty (30) consecutive days prior to their appointment or filing of their nomination papers for election to office.”
Here is a matrix of available information that I have found online regarding the candidates and their qualifications for the office. I couldn’t find any information in some areas. The information I have that is most complete is for Gigi Hanna; she was the first to send out information, and her Facebook page fills out any details. She is listed first because she is first on the Registrar of Voters’ list.
||Public Entity Experience
||City Clerk Training?
|Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna
||Assistant to Mayor
||Sr. Legislative Assistant
||Cordinator, SB County
|William A. Valle
The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
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