The Oceanside City Council on Wednesday directed city staff to develop education and professional experience requirements for the city treasurer position, which the council will consider at a later meeting.
As it stands, Oceanside has no additional requirements to run for city treasurer beyond those set by the California Elections Code, i.e., 18 years or older, registered to vote, resident of Oceanside, etc.
Carlsbad, which also elects their treasurer, requires candidates to have a four-year college degree in finance or a business-related field and four years of financial work experience.
The discussion comes amid an internal investigation into several allegations made against elected City Treasurer Victor Roy last month by Treasury Manager Steve Hodges.
The allegations first surfaced in an email that Hodges sent to Roy and other city officials in June accusing Roy of several things including making investment decisions that lost the city money, illegally asking Hodges to donate to his 2020 campaign, viewing and downloading nudity on a public library computer and more.
Hodges has since “chosen to resign, but not until later this year,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman via email. “We are doing the recruitment now to ensure a seamless transition.”
Councilmembers Ryan Keim and Christopher Rodriguez introduced the idea for stricter requirements at Wednesday’s meeting.
Not everyone agreed that the position needs additional requirements.
Mayor Esther Sanchez said city council members don’t have to meet additional requirements to run for city council, and that it should be up to voters to decide what qualifications or background they prefer in a candidate.
She also argued that the discussion should have waited until after the investigation is completed and called the move a “character assassination.”
Keim said he asked Roy to come to the council meeting and address concerns about his experience, but he did not.
Roy was elected to the seat for a partial term in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020. His lack of a financial background was a point of contention among many Oceanside residents when he was first elected in 2018. Roy has a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California Los Angeles and had a 27-year aviation career at Continental Airlines and later United Airlines, retiring as a services director.
His campaign website states he has a “comprehensive knowledge of finance, CDs, bonds and other types of city investments.”
At the time, some residents called on city officials to require professional financial experience for the position, but the city never did.
The city treasurer is responsible for overseeing the management of the city’s $450 million investment fund. It is an elected position in Oceanside, but in most cities in the county, like the city of San Diego, the city treasurer is appointed.
“It’s a watchdog – the city treasurer doesn’t actually invest money, but it’s tough to be a watchdog if you don’t understand what you’re watching,” Keim said.
The next City Council meeting will be on Aug. 24.