Bottom Line: The elected city clerk position is a ceremonial one, whose primary responsibility now involves signing official city documents at $300 per month. City Council recommends eliminating this ceremonial position in recognition of the evolution of the duties of city clerk, which are now overwhelmingly being performed by the appointed Chief City Clerk. Vote Yes on Measure C.
Background: Prior to November 2013, South Pasadena’s city clerk was elected AND a full-time employee. In 2013, the California City Clerk’s Association reported that 72 percent of the state’s city clerks were appointed, with the remaining 28 percent elected.
In May 2013, City Council decided to establish a full-time appointive chief city clerk because “the complexities of the City Clerk’s Office have increased over the years, requiring specific knowledge, skills, and abilities, and that these can be gained through professional education and certification.”
In 2013, the City Council didn’t believe the city was ready to transition to an exclusive appointed city clerk, and so voted to retain the position of an elected city clerk. However, in the six years since the council elected to have most of the responsibilities of the city clerk handled by a professional (the chief city clerk), it is now apparent that the position of an elected city clerk performing ceremonial duties is an anachronism with no discernible advantage. Our chief city clerks have been certified, and performed with distinction. The city would benefit from an ability to honor them with a title that reflects the scope of their responsibilities, city clerk.
Presently, the elected city clerk only performs ceremonial duties consisting of the signing of official documents, at $14,400 over the four-year term of the position. The South Pasadena Municipal Code establishes the following additional city clerk responsibilities:
Attend all City Council meetings.
Record and maintain the official record of City Council actions.
Keep all ordinances, resolutions and meeting minutes of City Council and all official records of City Council and the City Clerk.
Provide general secretarial support to the City Council, including but not limited to preparing general correspondence, commendations, proclamations and other official documentation.
Serve as the official custodian of all official city records.
Under direction of the city manager, post and certify posting of agendas for all City Council meetings.
Serve as the elections official for municipal elections.
Perform the duties imposed upon city clerks by the Political Reform Act.
Be responsible for all official city advertising.
Under direction of the city manager, process all claims filed against the city or its employees and agents.
City Council is trying to operate the city as efficiently as possible. Our elected city clerk is a vestige of the past, when the full-time position performed all the above tasks.
The city’s prior elected city clerk, Sally Kilby, supports Measure C. Please join her, and me, in voting YES on Measure C.
Diana Mahmud, City Councilmember
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