City attorney's boyfriend weighs city clerk run

The live-in boyfriend of Huntington Beach City Attorney Jennifer McGrath said he is weighing a run for the city clerk's office.

Ed Pinchiff, an attorney, has until Aug. 10 to officially declare his candidacy.

McGrath, who is elected to her position, said the city attorney and city clerk's offices are separate, and if Pinchiff won, it would not be a conflict of interest for either office.

Though the offices are separate, they do frequently interact.

City Clerk Joan Flynn said she has on many occasions sought the city attorney's advice on various issues, especially during election time.

Aside from holding a bachelor's degree or higher in public administration or a related field, the city clerk must obtain a Municipal Clerk certification or get it within the first three years of being elected to the position, according to the city charter.

Flynn has been the city clerk since 2004, when she was appointed by the council in June of that year. She ran unopposed in 2004 and again in 2008.

Pinchiff criticized Flynn, saying she could do a better job at opening up the city's records, but he didn't say exactly how Flynn could help the city be more transparent.

He also alleged that Flynn has raised her own salary to a level "greater than it should be," and that she recently gave her assistant a raise.

"At a time when the city is cutting the budget and city staff, the raise shows a lack of judgment," he said.

Flynn said she has not raised her salary, nor is she capable of raising it without the City Council's approval.

Flynn made $134,784 last year. In total compensation, she received $171,152, which included her pension and insurance costs, according to city records.

Though Flynn has served in her role for nearly a decade, she still makes the base salary for her position, according to city salary documents that list the minimum and maximum each position pays.

Flynn said she's thankful to have the job and hasn't asked for a raise because the city hasn't had room for them.

"I'm thrilled to have a job," she said. "I'm thrilled that I have an opportunity to be here."

As far as the salary of the assistant city clerk, Flynn did not give her assistant, Robin Lugar, a raise. Lugar's salary was adjusted to the position's standard. Flynn requested the adjustment five years ago, but the City Council didn't approve it until April.

Pinchiff was admitted to the state bar in 1988, but was not eligible to practice law from 2002 to 2008 after failing to pay his membership fee, according to the bar's website. He is currently licensed.

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