Huntington Beach Councilwoman Jill Hardy said today that she misspoke when she made a statement about the qualifications of the city’s elected department heads during a charter commission study session on Tuesday.

Hardy said the city’s elected officials — which include the city treasurer, city clerk and city attorney — would not have been able to run under the new recommended qualifications for those positions.

City Clerk Joan Flynn and City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich say Hardy’s statement was wrong. Both say they were qualified for the positions they hold at the time they were elected even under new requirements proposed by the charter commission. The elected officials helped the commission craft the new qualifications, Flynn said.

And Hardy now says that she “didn’t remember” what the qualifications of the department heads were when she made her remark and emphasized that she did not mean to imply the current elected officials are in any way unqualified.

She said her point in making that comment was that she is concerned that the new qualifications, in particular the requirement for “management experience,” would bar great candidates from coming forward.

Among other things, the commission is recommending that the elected department heads have management experience, at least bachelor’s degrees and state certifications.

Flynn had a degree in organizational management and management experience when she ran for the office, which satisfies the recommended requirements, she said. She is also the southern division chair of the City Clerks Association of California.

Freidenrich holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Washington State University in Business Administration and is also a CPA. She also served as a controller for McDonnell Douglas Travel Company.


Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.