Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/14/2010 04:31:31 PM PDT

REDLANDS – In addition to choosing whether to raise the city sales tax and electing three people to the City Council, Redlands voters will also have a say this November on whether they want to make one presently elected position an appointed job.

Measure B gives voters the option of changing the Office of the City Treasurer to an appointive position. A “yes” vote would make the change.

The council voted unanimously in July to put the issue before voters, saying that making the treasurer an appointed office would allow the city to establish and require qualifications for applicants.

“As a safeguard of public funds, the city treasurer should be required to have specific qualifications related to finance,” says the argument in favor of the measure in the sample ballot, which is signed by the entire City Council. “Presently not even a bachelor’s degree is required.”

Currently, Finance Director Tina Kundig holds the office to which she was appointed in August 2008 after former treasurer Mike Reynolds resigned. She will retain that position until Reynolds’ term ends in 2012.

For a person to run for the position, he/she must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and a registered voter in Redlands, according to the measure’s impartial analysis by City Attorney Daniel McHugh. The city may not establish any other qualifications if the office is elected, but could if it was an appointed position.

Councilman Jon Harrison said it was a “tough call” on his part to support Measure B but decided it would be best for the city.

“At the end of the day, I felt the appointed position ensures the community the person fulfilling the job as treasurer would have the qualifications necessary to manage millions of dollars,” Harrison said.

He said it is possible a person could be elected as treasurer but not understand or know how to do the job and the city would need to hire another employee to conduct the treasurer’s duties of receiving, keeping and disbursing the city’s money and preparing accounting reports.

The argument against Measure B says changing the job to an appointed position takes power away from voters and chisels away at the democratic process.

“The city treasurer should not be relegated to an appointed bureaucrat,” says the argument, signed by Lorrie Poyzer, Roger W. Poyzer and Lee J. Poyzer. “The checks and balances of an elected city treasurer were important to the creators of our Constitution – they need to be maintained to assure good, honest government.”

The argument goes on to say the treasurer needs to be accountable to the people because he/she manages their money. As an elected official, citizens may judge the official and recall if necessary.

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