I attended the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council meeting Jan. 14 regarding the charter amendments on the upcoming April 2 Glendale ballot. The main argument for keeping the city treasurer an elected office is that important positions like city council and congressional representatives are elected, and that someone who must stand for election is more answerable to the people. However, I see a big difference between policymaking bodies such as those and a professional position such as city treasurer.
The principal job of the city treasurer is investing the city's money.
While the law precludes risky speculation with city funds, there are choices that require prudent consideration. It is a very technical job.
I have heard our current city treasurer explain why those who have the particular skill set necessary to safeguard large sums of money are reluctant to take the chance on the whims of the electorate. Well-qualified candidates can find jobs in jurisdictions that don't require time-consuming campaigns to keep one's job.
A study done in 2010 by Alexander Halley at UC Merced found that a city's cost of borrowing is reduced by 17% to 31% with an appointed treasurer. About 64% of the cities in California have appointed treasurers. San Bernardino elects its treasurer, and that city recently went bankrupt.
We have been lucky to have our current treasurer safeguard the city's funds, but that might not always be the case. I urge all Glendale voters to consider the danger of letting a popularity/beauty contest decide who has control of the city's bank accounts and vote yes on Measure A.