Should voters continue to elect the city treasurer? Or should we let Glendale's city manager appoint the treasurer, who would then serve at will? The question will be on the ballot as “Measure A” in the upcoming election April 2. A “yes” vote means you're in favor of an appointed treasurer.
Clearly, the treasurer's job has gotten more complex in recent years as cities struggle with getting their finances under control. That may explain why an increasing number of California cities, especially larger ones, are voting to convert the treasurer's position to an appointed one. For the record, Pasadena's treasurer is appointed, Burbank's is still elected.
The best argument for appointing a treasurer comes from a 2010 National Bureau of Economic Research study, conducted by Alexander Whalley of University of California Merced.
Whalley compared the achievements of elected and appointed city treasurers in 203 California cities and found that “appointive treasurers reduce a city's cost of borrowing by 13% to 23%.” They did that mostly by restructuring a city's borrowing costs by refinancing its debt at lower interest rates. Here's the link to the study: www.nber.org/papers/w15643.
Unlike a politician hoping to be elected treasurer, an appointed treasurer doesn't have to live in Glendale. But he or she must be a professional, someone with experience in managing assets. It's time Glendale and its $400-million portfolio gets professional management.
Jaye Scholl Bohlen