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Voters Veto Measure to Appoint City's Treasurer by 5-1 Margin

November 05, 1987

Oxnard voters have defeated a measure that would have made the city treasurer an appointed instead of an elected official.

Measure A failed by more than a 5-1 margin in Tuesday's municipal election, with 5,402 votes to continue choosing the treasurer by election and 991 votes for selection by appointment.

Supporters of the measure argued that the city's $70-million investment portfolio required the expertise of a trained financial manager, who would either be appointed by the City Council or, if the council chose, by the city manager.

The measure's chief proponent, Oxnard Councilman Manuel M. Lopez, contended that an elected treasurer need only "be 18 years old, a resident of Oxnard and a good campaigner." He pointed out that of the 21 cities in the state that are larger than Oxnard, only four have elected treasurers.

Opponents, headed by Councilman Michael A. Plisky, argued that the change was unnecessary because past treasurers have done a commendable job. "If it's not broken," Plisky said, "don't fix it."

He also maintained that elected treasurers are superior because they do not have to report to city officials and consequently have "an independent accountability" that protects public funds against misuse.

Treasurer Geraldine Furr, who was appointed to the post last year to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Robert de la Cruz, also opposed the measure on the same grounds. Furr said she had not decided whether to run for the office if the measure was defeated.

A similar measure had been put before the voters in 1954, but it was defeated by less than 100 votes.

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