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Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure P
Appointing City Clerk and Treasurer
City of Morgan Hill

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 5,158 / 45.97% Yes votes ...... 6,062 / 54.03% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 23 2:45pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (30/30)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the offices of City Clerk and City Treasurer be appointive?



Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
A "yes" vote is a vote to have the offices of the City Clerk and City Treasurer be appointed by the City Council starting in 2012.

A NO vote on this measure means:
A "no" vote is a vote to have the City Clerk and City Treasurer remain elective offices, subject to elections every four years.

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
California law requires each city to have a City Clerk and a City Treasurer. These officers may be either elected or appointed. Currently, the City Clerk and City Treasure of Morgan Hill are elected every four years.

The City Clerk is the custodian and manager of official city records, including agendas, city council ordinances, resolutions and meeting minutes, public hearing notices, and contracts. She publishes City Council meeting agendas and records the proceedings of the meetings. The City Clerk serves as the election officer of the city who oversees the proceedings for elections, candidate filings for elective offices, and filing of economic interest statements. She also responds to requests from the public for public records.

The City Treasurer is charged with safekeeping and investment of city funds. He must comply with all laws governing the deposit, securing and handling of public funds. He is obligated to make reports to the City Council, accounting for all receipts, disbursements and funds balances. The City Treasurer also performs duties relative to the collection of city taxes and license fees as prescribed by ordinance.

Currently, any resident of Morgan Hill who is a registered voter may be elected City Clerk or City Treasurer. No additional qualifications may be imposed for these positions. The elected City Clerk and City Treasurer serve four-year terms and may stand for re-election for additional terms.

If this measure is adopted, both the City Clerk and the City Treasurer would be appointed by the City Council. The City Council may prescribe minimum qualifications for training, education, experience, certification or other criteria for these positions. The City Council could recruit from among all qualified candidates, regardless of where they reside or are registered to vote. The appointed City Clerk and City Treasurer would serve at the pleasure of the City Council. The City Council may adopt an ordinance to delegate to the City Manager the authority to appoint the City Clerk and City Treasurer.

The changes in this measure, if adopted, would take effect at the end of the current terms of the incumbent City Clerk and City Treasurer. Their terms end in 2012, at which time the City Council would recruit for and make appointments to these offices.

Therefore, if this measure is passed by a majority of voters, the offices of the City Clerk and City Treasurer would be appointed by the City Council starting in 2012. If this measure is not passed, the City Clerk and City Treasurer would remain elective offices, subject to elections every four years.

/s/ Danny Wan
City Attorney, City of Morgan Hill

  Official Information

N.B. This is not an official version of the measure. For the official wording contact the Registrar of Voters or the district sponsoring the measure.

City of Morgan Hill
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Arguments For Measure P Arguments Against Measure P
A registered voter only needs to be 18 and a US citizen. To serve in the increasingly complex roles of City Treasurer or City Clerk, much stronger and more stringent qualifications are needed. The roles demand considerable education, skills, experience and professionalism in areas such as financial markets, investment policies, risk mitigation, information technology, records management, state and local elections and conflict of interest laws.

These positions need to be filled by appointment rather than a political election process. Both the City Clerk and City Treasurer need to be politically neutral, like all City staff. The City Treasurer oversees all City investments, and the City Clerk oversees elections and important administrative functions. The possibility of unqualified candidates being elected to perform these critical functions is a very real danger.

The Clerk and Treasurer positions should be selected based on meeting an extensive set of qualifications and extensive screening designed to appoint competent people with the strongest technical, administrative and professional skills. Once appointed, they will be held accountable to perform to the highest standards, the same as the City Manager and his executive staff. Accountability will be daily, not just every four years.

Oversight and public visibility is important, and today it is amply provided by external audits, performance reviews, budgetary and investment policies, regularly agendized detailed status reporting, website reporting, television coverage of meetings and the State's open meeting and public record laws.

Morgan Hill needs to join the vast majority of California cities that have already established more efficient, professional and effective government by voting to appoint these positions. It will also save the city money on the increasing cost of future elections. Join us in bringing Morgan Hill into the 21st century by voting YES on Measure P.

/s/ Steve Tate

/s/ Larry Carr
Council Member

/s/ Marilyn Librers
Council Member

/s/ Greg Sellers
Council Member

/s/ Dennis Kennedy
Former Mayor

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The City Clerk and City treasurer have been historically elected. This was done to ensure that the information and finances provided to the people would be complete and accurate. These positions have had their responsibilities and funding cut significantly and others have been hired or assigned portions of their tasks. This leads to more people doing less work and a reduction in our ability to obtain complete and accurate information that we rely on. Only independent elected positions can accurately be trusted to be unbiased and complete.

The proponents argue that an uneducated citizenry may elect an 'unqualified' candidate. The public knows all too well that every year there are unqualified, unethical, or unable people elected to office somewhere in the United States. The unqualified, of good character and sound judgment, may come up-to-speed and end up more expert than the 'qualified'. The unethical or unable, may be removed. But what should not be removed is the ability of 'we the people' to decide.

To take elections out of the citizens' hands and put them in the care of the City Council is to propel politically biased appointments, rather than to keep these roles neutral.

Morgan Hill does not need to join the 'vast majority of California cities'. We have learned that change is not always for the better.


/s/ Richard A. Jensen
Resident Concerned Citizen

The proposed ballot measure is a bad idea, and would serve to eliminate the system of checks & balances, a critical component of good government.

An elected City Clerk and City Treasurer, as we have it now, has served us well for many decades and it is good business, good for the people.

One of the fundamental principles of our Constitution is the tried and true concept of checks and balances, the built-in mechanism that prevents one part of government from becoming too powerful.

Proponents of the measure to change from elected to appointed positions would have you believe that the proposed changes will streamline the governmental process, making it more efficient, and therefore, better- it will not.

Being accountable to the people, rather than the City Council, may be seen as "inefficient", but let's take into account that a dictatorship could be seen as the most "efficient" system of government. Let's not sacrifice accountability and good government for expediency.

They suggest that this measure will make the positions more accountable. Accountable to whom, we ask? Finally, they imply that the electorate is not savvy enough to select the most qualified candidate. This argument makes absolutely no sense. If they are correct then why are we savvy enough to vote for Mayor, City Council or President of the United States?

An independent Treasurer and City Clerk have the latitude to bring items of interest or irregularities to the attention of the Council or the public, without fear of reprisal or reprimand (witness the issues in Modoc County and Modesto, CA).

An elected City Clerk and Treasurer provide the voters with protection from potential mismanagement or malfeasance. Don't allow what happened in Bell, California to happen here...because of insufficient checks and balances to protect the taxpayers.


/s/ Douglas A. McNea
President Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association

/s/ Marby Lee
Councilmember, City of Morgan Hill

/s/ Arthur T. College II
Candidate for Mayor

/s/ Richard A. Jensen
Resident Concerned Citizen

/s/ Frank P. Manocchio
Morgan Hill Resident

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
California State law establishes the highly technical and specialized responsibilities of the positions of City Clerk and City Treasurer. Those responsibilities do NOT in any way include a "check" or a "balance" on the elected officials of the City Council which has the legal responsibility to hold all other employees and officials (but not the Clerk or Treasurer) accountable.

The voters are the ultimate "check and balance" on the City Council. And yes, voters are "savvy enough" to evaluate how well the Council exercises its responsibility for appointing highly qualified candidates for the specialized duties of the Clerk and Treasurer. With the ready availability of the detailed financial and electoral reporting done regularly by the City, any member of the public has all the information necessary to thoroughly understand their status.

Allow the Council to oversee the Clerk and Treasurer operations by making these positions appointed, then hold the Council accountable for the results. Vote YES on P.

/s/ Steve Tate

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