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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Pittsburg
Measure H Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


7,064 votes yes (36.63%)

12,223 votes no (63.37%)

100% of precincts reporting (33/33).

22,467 ballots counted.

Shall the office of City Clerk be appointive?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

California law requires all general law cities to have the position of city clerk. City clerks have many important administrative responsibilities, such as keeping records of all city council meetings, including ordinances and resolutions; overseeing city elections; administering retention of city records; and performing other significant duties imposed by state and local law.


The position of city clerk may be either an elected position or an appointed position. Elected city clerks must reside and be registered to vote in the city where they hold office. No other requirements or minimum experience qualifications apply to elected city clerks. Appointed city clerks serve at the pleasure of the city council, and are not required to be residents or voters in the city in which they serve. A city council may establish minimum qualification requirements for appointed city clerks.

The office of City Clerk for the City of Pittsburg is currently an elected office. California Elections Code section 36508 authorizes a city council to submit to the voters the question of whether an elected office, other than that of a city council member, shall be made an appointed office. The Pittsburg City Council adopted Resolution 16-13225 directing that a question be submitted to the voters of the City of Pittsburg concerning whether the City Clerk of the City of Pittsburg shall be made an appointed position.

A “yes” vote on Measure H is a vote in favor of making the City Clerk of the City of Pittsburg an appointed position. A “no” vote on Measure H is a vote against making the City Clerk of the City of Pittsburg an appointed position. If a majority of the voters voting on Measure H vote “yes”, then the City Clerk of the City of Pittsburg will become an appointed position, and the city council will appoint a City Clerk at the expiration of the term of the City Clerk now in office, or upon a vacancy in the office of City Clerk.

Dated: August 15, 2016

Ruthann G. Ziegler
Pittsburg City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

The selection of the City Clerk for Pittsburg should be based on qualifications and experience, not the results of a political campaign.


Duties of the City Clerk have evolved considerably over the past few decades. A city can no longer afford for this position to be strictly ceremonial in nature. The complexities of the position have increased and technical skills and knowledge required are significant. The Clerk’s responsibilities include: city records and agenda management, elections oversight, administration of the City’s legislative process, and compliance with conflict of interest regulations and other federal/state laws. New laws are enacted each year that require administration by City Clerks.

Logic demands that the City Clerk be selected following a screening designed to recruit and hire the person with the strongest technical and professional skills. Once hired, an appointed Clerk can be held accountable to perform to the same standards established for other executive staff.

By State law, the only qualifications to serve as an elected City Clerk are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age, and
  • Must be a registered voter within the City

The trend statewide has moved towards appointed rather than elected City Clerks. 80% of California cities appoint their City Clerks; only 4 of 19 cities in Contra Costa County have elected City Clerks. The Pittsburg City Council unanimously joins many groups and individuals committed to quality local government in encouraging you to support this commonsense and necessary change.

The public expects that the duties of the City Clerk will be performed efficiently and professionally. This can best be accomplished by selecting a person to serve based on technical skill, education and relevant experience. The City of Pittsburg deserves a full-time, qualified City Clerk.

Your YES vote ensures the duties of the City Clerk are performed by a professional selected based on their knowledge, education, training and qualifications.

Alice Evenson, Pittsburg City Clerk
Sal Evola, Pittsburg Council Member
Dwaine “Pete” Longmire, Pittsburg Council Member
Mary Erbez, Former Pittsburg City Clerk, Council Member, Mayor

— Contra Costa County Elections Division

Arguments AGAINST

The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association strongly opposes this measure. As official custodian for all public meeting minutes and other critical documents, it is vital that the position of City Clerk not be vulnerable to pressure from the City Manager or council members in order to protect his/her job. 

The public relies on true and accurate public records of government actions, and as long as the City Clerk is only accountable to the people, they can rely on independent recording and record management.

Please Vote NO on this measure, and protect the integrity of the City Clerk position.

Contra Costa Taxpayer Association, Jack Weir, President

— Contra Costa County Elections Division

Replies to Arguments FOR

Contrary to the argument in favor, the primary duty of the City Clerk is not meer administrative efficiency in handling public paperwork. As custodian of the public’s most important documents, including city council minutes, it is vital that these records should be complete, accurate and untainted by political bias.


When the City Clerk is elected directly by the people, there is less possibility that the incumbent may be pressured to twist the content of public records, or to limit or delay access to documents that may cast city actions in a questionable light.

Under our system of government, checks and balances serve to guard the public’s interest. The role of an independent City Clerk (as well as that of the City Treasurer) provides that protection. As mistrust of government reaches all-time highs, the people must be able to rely on officials that are answerable only to them, not someone who may feel the need to “go along to get along” in order to keep their job.

The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association has worked since 1937 to promote “good government at affordable cost” in our county. There is no appreciable cost to taxpayers of maintaining the independence of the City Clerk position, so we’re guided by two principles:

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and
  • The essential integrity of public records.

Vote NO on Measure H.

Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, Jack Weir, President

— Contra Costa County Elections Division

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Whether appointed or elected the City Clerk will work for the people. As with all staff, the City Clerk will be appointed by the City Manager. Pittsburg voters are smart! They know current technology eliminates any question about the accuracy of public records related to governmental actions. All Council and Commission meetings are digitally recorded (sound and video) and have been available on the City’s website since 2005.


Professionally trained City Clerks subscribe to a high standard of ethics, impartiality, and integrity. An appointed Clerk will be held accountable to perform at the same high level established for all City staff.

When the current elected City Clerk retires, we will be faced with a selection process. The question is which process will produce the most qualified person. Do we rely on finding someone competent to step up and run for election for a part-time position, or do we change the system to allow recruitment of a full-time employee with experience, education and qualifications?

We have seen neighboring cities deal with errors made by part-time elected City Clerks, along with nasty recalls of those not performing. Let’s keep Pittsburg moving in the right direction, ensure the integrity of the position for the future, and avoid embarrassing and costly consequences at taxpayer expense.

YES vote guarantees the City of Pittsburg will have a qualified, professional, trained City Clerk to oversee the legislative process, elections, records management and more.

Our City deserves more than a figurehead in this very important position.

Vote YES on Measure H!

Alice Evenson, Pittsburg City Clerk
Sal Evola, Pittsburg Council Member
Dwaine “Pete” Longmire, Pittsburg Council Member
Mary Erbez, Former Pittsburg City Clerk, Council Member, Mayor

— Contra Costa County Elections Division
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