Those hoping to run for Oceanside’s city treasurer position must now meet minimum education and professional requirements after a City Council vote Wednesday.
The council approved an ordinance that will require a city treasurer candidate to meet one of four requirements. Options include acquiring some education in accounting, auditing, economics, business administration or finance along with any college degree; or receiving a certificate from one of the listed state regulatory agencies.
Oceanside previously had 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.
The city treasurer is responsible for overseeing the management of the city’s $500 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.
The development comes after months of controversy in the city’s treasury department caused by several allegations made against elected City Treasurer Victor Roy by Treasury Manager Steve Hodges.
Hodges accused Roy of being negligent in city investments decisions, illegally asking for campaign donations, viewing inappropriate materials on a public library computer and more.
The city concluded its internal investigation into the claims last month and found that most of the claims could not be proven, but a few showed that Roy violated city policies.
Allegations regarding financial investments were not investigated because the city determined that no individual official had control over those decisions.
Mayor Esther Sanchez was the sole “no” vote at Wednesday’s meeting, saying during the discussion that they are “picking on” Roy, and that city council members don’t have to meet additional requirements to run for city council, so neither should candidates for city treasurer.
“This isn’t about one person,” Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim said. “I think it’s only responsible of us to have someone who understands the position to be a watchdog over $500 million.”
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 worked in aviation for 27 years.
His campaign website states he has a “comprehensive knowledge of finance, CDs, bonds and other types of city investments.”
During his election bid, some residents called on city officials to require professional financial experience for the position, but the city never did.