Huntington Beach Charter Panel Wants Elected Officials with Better Credentials

The Huntington Beach Charter Commission wants the city’s treasurer, city attorney and city clerk to have more experience and be better educated in their fields. The proposed qualifications, which the commission presented at city council study session Monday, are to ensure future officials are competent enough to do the “simple things,” according to the commission.

Chairman of the commission Dick Harlow said past officials “thought they had more independence” because they were elected. Mayor Pro Tem Jill Hardy noted that under the new qualifications, the current elected department heads would not have been able to run.

Harlow emphasized that the current department heads are competent and did not inspire the qualification changes.

The commission made the following recommendations:

  • The city attorney must have management experience, have graduated from an accredited law school, and have accreditation by the American Bar Association.
  • The city clerk must have management experience, a bachelor’s degree, and certification as a municipal clerk within three years of election or appointment of the office.
  • The city treasurer must have finance and management experience and either a Master’s degree in accounting, finance, business or public administration; or a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business or public administration and certification by the California Municipal Treasurer’s Association, or their successor, within three years of election or appointment of office.

If an elected head does not receive the required certifications within three years of election or appointment, then the new rules would require that they be removed from office, said City Attorney Jennifer McGrath.

The commission also recommended changing the city’s form of government from council-administrator to council-manager and a new version of Measure C, a city ordinance that has voters approve the sale, lease and development of park or beach land.

The council scheduled to take up the commission’s recommendations at its May 17 and June 7 meetings.



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