A proposal to dump the elected city treasurer’s position is dead.
The Charter Revision Commission opted this week not to challenge the City Council’s recommendation to leave the part-time elected post the way it’s always been instead of replacing it with an appointed professional.
Tim Furey, the chairman of the charter panel, said he was disappointed in the council’s lack of support for ensuring that only a qualified person could hold the treasurer’s post.
But, he said, he didn’t want “to pollute” the showdown over the proposed chief operating officer slot by including a plan to change the treasurer’s job as well. Charter commissioners unanimously agreed with him to drop the idea.
The final report of the charter commission will include three recommendations: to make the registrars of voters serve four-year terms instead of two, to have the appointed assistant clerk hold office for four years rather than two, and to create a chief operating officer at City Hall.
Councilors have already indicated they will back the changes in the terms of office so voters are virtually certain to be asked to vote on the revisions in the November 4 general election.The fate of the chief operating officer concept is less clear. It appears likely the council will vote it down this month and that supporters will launch a petition drive to try to get it on the ballot anyhow.
But the proposal to switch at an appointed treasurer cannot be revived this year.
One of the backers of the change, city Councilor Craig Minor, said that the treasurer’s post is “a technical and financial” one, not a policymaking role. He said it should be appointed so that those who hold it would have to possess the qualifications to do the job.
Minor, a Democrat, said it disturbed him that had voters picked the GOP’s treasurer candidate last year, the city could have had someone with no training for dealing with the position’s responsibilities.
But Cliff Block, a rookie Democratic councilor, said it’s impossible to set educational standards for an elected position.
“Shame on the Democrats or shame on the Republicans,” Block said, if they put up a candidate who doesn’t have the background to do the job.
Furey said he would prefer to have elected councilors choose a treasurer rather than having it done “in the back room of party politics.”
Republican city Councilor Mike Rimcoski said, though, that if councilors got to make the choice “it’s really going to throw it into the back rooms.”
He said he trusts voters to pick someone qualified for the $4,600-a-year job.
“The people will see the qualifications,” Block said.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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