After a series of split votes on Thursday night, June 21, the Oakdale City Council selected Retail Grocer J.R. McCarty to be appointed City Treasurer until the November election.
McCarty, 39, is a lifelong resident of Oakdale and is a head clerk for Cost Less Market in town. He has been in the field for over 25 years.
“His strong financial background is just what we need,” said Mayor Pat Paul. “I was impressed that he has to reconcile the store’s financial sheets on a daily basis. That experience and responsibility is what we need for the city treasurer.”
The treasurer position has been vacant since April when former Treasurer Mike Murray resigned amid his concerns of city financial mismanagement and a dispute with the city’s finance director over the process in which he was asked to sign 17 overdue statements.
McCarty was selected over retired Administrative Judge Michael Ward and bookkeeper Carolyn Wheeler, who also interviewed on Thursday.
During its first vote the council was split with Mayor Paul and Councilman Mike Brennan opting for Wheeler and Councilwoman Katherine Morgan and Councilman Tom Dunlop in favor of Ward.
After the third vote, the council voted 4-0 to choose McCarty.
“After that, I looked over to my wife and said, ‘What just happened?’” said McCarty. “The other two (candidates) were very qualified and would help the city.”
“They were all very capable and a strong group,” said Dunlop on Friday. “J.R. should do a fine job with his numbers handling and reconciliation skills.”
McCarty said he is looking forward to working with city officials to help fix some of the financial problems Oakdale has had over the last 18 months. He does not know at this time if he will campaign for the elected position in November.
“That’s something I’ll have to discuss with my wife after I’ve done it for a bit,” said McCarty. “Right now, I just want to get in there and help out the city.”
The Oakdale Treasurer acts as the custodian of all public funds belonging to or under the control of the city. The duties are mandated by state law and city policies, and include the review of bank reconciliations and approval of Treasurer’s Reports.
“I wish Mr. McCarty well in this endeavor,” said former Treasurer Mike Murray. “Hopefully, with the advent of a financial audit committee, which he should indeed chair, he will exercise the oversight needed.”
McCarty will be sworn in at the next Oakdale City Council meeting on July 2.