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Los Angeles County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure Z
Change office of City Treasurer from elective to appointive position
City of Signal Hill

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

685 / 37.85% Yes votes ...... 1,125 / 62.15% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 26 10:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting ( 6/ 6)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the City Charter of the City of Signal Hill be amended to provide that the City Treasurer is appointed by the City Council to be a City employee instead of elected by the people?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
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The Office of the City Treasurer of the City of Signal Hill is presently elective and is filled by the voters of the City. Passage of this measure by City voters would make this office appointive. This measure would not affect the term of the currently elected City Treasurer, which term expires in March 2003, however, the next and future City Treasurers would be appointed by the City Council.

The City Treasurer shall be chosen from among, and shall serve as, full-time City staff. Currently, the City Treasurer is assisted by the City's Finance Department. It is anticipated that the duties of the City Treasurer will be performed by the Finance Director without an increase in staff if this measure is approved.

The duties of the City Treasurer are currently specified in the City Charter and would remain the same. They include receiving and depositing all money transmitted to the City, preparing summaries and accounting for all funds received and paid by the City, paying out money on warrants, and complying with all laws governing the deposit and securing of public funds.

The City's Finance Department estimates that making the City Treasurer an appointive office will result in a net savings of $11,000 per year in salary and benefits.

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Arguments For Measure Z Arguments Against Measure Z
The City Treasurer is an honorary part-time elected position. The actual duties of the treasurer are performed by full-time city staff members. The last time there was a contested race for this office was in the mid 1980's.

In the past, many cities had an elected City Treasurer. This individual performed a variety of duties. However, as a city and its budget grow and become more complex, the duties of the City Treasurer also grow and become more complex. The actual duties are now performed by city staff members who have the expertise and professional skills necessary. In a recent survey of cities comparable to Signal Hill, no other city currently retains an elected City Treasurer position.

Delegating an elected City Treasurer's duties to a city staff member will not lessen the City's duty to be accountable to it's citizens. Any citizen has the right, under the Public Records Act, to inspect the city's records at any time. Every year, the budget is presented in a public workshop forum. The budget itself is available to any member of the public who wishes to examine it. Reports of investments are contained in the City Council agenda and these reports are available to the public as well. The City is audited regularly by an independent auditor. These checks and balances remove the need for an elected City Treasurer.

The elected City Treasurer currently receives approximately $900 a month in salary and benefits. Elimination of this position would lead to a savings of $11,000 per year to the City.

Please join the undersigned councilmembers and citizens who support this measure and vote YES on Measure Z.





President, Concerned Citizens

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The City Treasurer position is an official position not an honorary position. It is one of the specific positions listed in the City Charter. All elected positions within the City are part-time, including council members. The argument in favor implies that if a position is not contested, it is not important and therefore, should be appointed rather than elected. Does this hold true for council as well? A better assumption of non-contested elections is that the citizens are satisfied with the incumbent.

The recent Wall Street scandals including Enron, WorldCom, etc ., have reemphasized that importance of segregation of duties. As an elected official, the Treasurer is directly accountable to the citizens. As an appointed staff member, the Treasurer is accountable to the administration first. There can be many situations where this can lead to a conflict of interest. Why create the potential for these scenarios when they do not currently exist?

There is a cost to good government. Currently, the cost of the Treasurer is minimal, quantifiable and controllable. The maximum predicted savings is less than one hundredth of one percent of Signal Hill's budget. However, all costs will not be eliminated, thus the savings are even less. And there are potentially hidden costs as well. Why trade immaterial controllable costs for hidden uncontrollable costs?

There is an old adage that states, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." Please maintain your rights to have a city government that is fully accountable to the citizens. Vote no on Measure "Z."


The United States of America is the best country in the world. It is the best because it is a representative government. We have learned that we are best represented when we elect our officials. This is called democracy # a system of government in which the ultimate political authority is vested in the people. The City Treasurer (a necessary position) is an official elected by the citizens of Signal Hill.

On a regular basis the council fights with the state and federal government to retain local control of various issues. We believe that the local community should have a continuous say in its governance and direction and not have it imposed upon us by an outside body. This should also hold true for required positions within local government. All Signal Hill citizens should always have a voice in who and how they are governed. The individual who garners the trust of the residents of Signal Hill through the electoral process should fill the City Treasurer position.

Segregation of duties is a fundamental component of a democratic government. It is also a key component of good business. In fact, a reportable condition in Signal Hill's most recent Management Letter from its outside auditors was specifically regarding segregation of duties. The Letter states "...The person responsible for executing or approving investment transactions should not be responsible for entering the related accounting data or maintaining the related financial records..."

The question really boils down to this: do you believe that it is better to have a Treasurer accountable to the citizens of Signal Hill or merely to the Council now and hereafter? More and more of our rights are lost and or eroded everyday. Being able to elect who represents you should not be one of them. Keep the Treasurer accountable to the citizens. Vote no on Z

Council Member





Rebuttal to Arguments Against
A YES vote on Measure Z will hold the City Council directly accountable for the City's investments and financial health. Professional municipal finance staff, appointed by the Council, already performs the technical duties of the treasurer. The budget, warrant registers and investments are publicly reviewed at every Council meeting by the City Council.

The argument against Measure Z quotes an opinion letter from the city's independent auditor to support their position that eliminating the elected treasurer would remove important checks and balances. Their argument does not tell the whole story. The auditor was later informed that three professional staff members oversee City investments. The auditor agrees that sufficient checks and balances exist.

Unfortunately, an elected treasurer does not have to be educated in municipal finance. An appointed city treasurer must be. Neither an elected nor appointed treasurer controls the City's budget. Ultimately, the City Council is responsible for the City's budget. You, the voters decide if the Council is doing a good job with the City's investments and finances. A YES vote on Measure Z will hold the City Council directly responsible.

We urge a YES vote on Measure Z.





President, Concerned Citizens

Full Text of Measure Z

Section 1. Purpose. By approving this Charter Amendment, the people of the City of Signal Hill wish to replace its current system of City Treasurer elected by city voters with a city treasurer appointed by the City Council.

Section 2. Section 301 of Article III of the Signal Hill City Charter shall be amended to delete "City Treasurer" from the list of elective officers described in that Section 301.

Section 3. Section 319 of Article III, entitled "City Treasurer, Powers and Duties," shall be repealed in its entirety.

Section 4. Article V of the City Charter is amended to add a new Section
501.1, to read in its entirety as follows:

"SECTION 501.1. City Treasurer.

There shall be a City Treasurer, who shall be appointed by the City Council. The City Treasurer shall have the legal responsibility to:

a. Receive and safely keep all money, which is transmitted, to the City or any of its officers and issue a receipt to the payer for each remittance received.

b. Comply with all laws governing the deposit and securing of public funds and the handling of trust funds in his or her possession.

c. Prepare as of the end of each day a summary of the moneys received, which summary shall state the fund into which the payments have been credited and the source thereof, and submit the same to the City Manager.

d. Pay out money only on warrants signed by legally designated persons.

e. Submit to the City Manager a written report at the end of each month accounting for all moneys received and disbursements made during such month and setting forth the fund balances as of the end of such month and file a copy of such report with the city clerk whom shall present the same to the City Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting."

Section 5. Effective Date. If approved by a majority vote of the people at the November 2002 election, this measure shall become effective upon the expiration of the current term of the elected City Treasurer.

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Created: December 6, 2002 03:14 PST
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