Harry Herbert signaled Monday that he is okay with serving as city treasurer another year while the city delays the election for that office to coincide with the presidential election of 2020.
Herbert had wanted to retire from the elected office and was hopeful that Ceres voters would approve Measure X last November which would have made his office appointed rather than elected. However, Ceres voters rejected Measure X by a margin of 6,952 votes, or 64.53 percent, to 3,821 yes votes, or 35.47 percent, wanting to have a say for an office that attracts little or no interest.
Herbert wasn’t going to be a candidate this year and hasn’t been challenged in decades.
Because the cost of a special election was going to cost $25,000 to $30,000, City Manager Toby Wells sought the approval of the Ceres City Council to extend Herbert’s term another year – after he agreed – so that election costs will be lower next year when the country votes for president. The council unanimously supported the cost-saving measure.
The California Government Code requires cities to have an elected or appointed city treasurer despite that most all of the city’s finances are managed by the Finance Director. The treasurer acts as an oversight, many times just providing a signature to documents. Since Finance Director Suzanne Dean does most of the budget work, Wells had recommended she take on the role as city treasurer. Voters didn’t approve of Measure X so an election takes place in 2020, possibly with no candidates interested. In that case, Dean would likely be appointed.