From his retirement home in Mission Viejo, longtime Glendale City Clerk Merle Hagemeyer has challenged the established line of succession regarding his former job by endorsing an outsider over his deputy of nine years.
Three candidates, including Acting City Clerk Aileen C. Boyle, are seeking the top job in the clerk's office in the April municipal election.
Hagemeyer, who retired Jan. 1, said he will support Jeri A. Browne, an employee in the Burbank city clerk's office, to replace Boyle.
Boyle has worked for the Glendale clerk's office for 21 years, moving up through the ranks in the same manner as the past two clerks.
Hagemeyer had been appointed acting clerk by the City Council in 1977 and ran unopposed for office the next year.
His predecessor, Frank Usher, also had been appointed acting city clerk by city officials, and was subsequently elected, Hagemeyer said.
In comparison, this year's pathway to the city clerk's office is crowded with contenders.
For Boyle, who was a deputy city clerk since 1980, that means having to earn the position in a competitive election.
She said her main asset is hands-on experience. "I've been working with the same group of people for years, and I believe we've done a good job."
In recent years Boyle attended election management and record-keeping seminars on her own time to keep up with the latest developments in her field, she said.
"It's an extremely complex and demanding job," Boyle said. "You have to pay a lot of attention to detail."
Hagemeyer, however, prefers Browne. "Based on experience, management skills and rapport with the public, I believe that Browne would best serve the City of Glendale," Hagemeyer said.
Browne has worked in Burbank's city clerk's office for the past 16 years, although she has lived in Glendale for the past 14 years.
She said her goals include the creation of a records management and archives program "to preserve the history of the city," and to store backup microfilm copies of transcripts of all City Council meetings in a safe place, to prevent their destruction by fire or earthquake.
Browne is active in several job-related national and state organizations.
She is president of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Assn. of Records, Managers and Administrators and Burbank chapter secretary of the National Management Assn., and served on the 1987 City Clerk Handbook Committee for the City Clerks Assn. of California.
"She has an excellent reputation," Hagemeyer said.
Boyle said Hagemeyer has endorsed the challenger because he and Browne are personal friends.
"He picked a business acquaintance over a business relationship," she said. "I'd do the same thing."
Hagemeyer would not praise or criticize his former deputy. When asked about Boyle, he answered "no comment."
Kurt Jon Erikson, a 21-year veteran of the city Engineering Department, rounds out the field of candidates.
Although he lacks city clerk experience, Erikson said, he has become familiar with many aspects of the city clerk's duties by writing draft ordinances and City Council reports for his department.
"After 21 years of service for the city of Glendale, I want to expand my role and improve the city clerk's office," he said.
Erikson said the city clerk's office needs improvement in making "more information more readily available" to the public. "I don't know yet if the city clerk's decision or if the council regulates the flow of information. I'll have to look into that."
Boyle dismissed Erikson's claim as a non-issue. "We go out of our way to help the public," she said.
Glendale's city clerk is responsible for transcribing council meetings, maintaining records, supervising elections and issuing licenses.
The city clerk's starting salary is $3,370 monthly.