Oakdale voters casting a ballot for treasurer will have a choice of two candidates whose interest goes back to earlier this year when both candidates applied to fill the remaining term when the position was vacated. The city clerk candidate is running unopposed, however she has been prepping for the role at city hall since outgoing clerk Nancy Lilly announced her retirement.
Michael Ward, a retired unemployment insurance judge, is a 13-year Oakdale resident who said he was running for treasurer because of his concern for the city’s financial condition. He said after hearing about the backlogged treasurer reports earlier this year, the wastewater fund payment not being met, and the bond downgrading he had to get involved.
“Things kind of went crazy earlier this year,” Ward said. “After looking at some of the documentation, I said, ‘Holy cow, things are a mess.’”
Ward gives credit to current treasurer J.R. McCarty for stepping in and making things current and noticing some discrepancies related to a computer hacking.
With two audits coming up – the city audit and redevelopment fund audit – Ward proposed an idea of “calendaring” to meet deadlines, an issue he criticized from past audits and notations of items turned in late.
“Finance does a good job with bookkeeping,” said Ward. “Calendaring is something the treasurer can do. You can’t wait until a month before it’s (the audit) due and try to figure it out.”
Ward believes as city treasurer he can add other items to the treasurer’s report in addition to bank and bank balances and investments. He would like to show the city’s status on large bills, loans, and bonds.
“Transparency can play a role in oversight,” said Ward. “The treasurer’s report should show how payments are to be made.”
Ward said he has support from OID Board Member Frank Clark and Oakdale Joint Unified School District Board Member Bill Dyer. The Oakdale Firefighters Association has also endorsed Ward.
Carolyn Wheeler has 30 years accounting and bookkeeping experience including working for local government for the City of Modesto and San Mateo County. She’s lived in Oakdale for over nine years and has been a volunteer for Relay For Life and at Oakdale Charter School.
Wheeler said she was sparked to run for the position after hearing about the prior problems of incomplete treasurer reports and the $800,000 deficit with the wastewater treatment facility.
“Things didn’t seem to have a check and balance,” said Wheeler. “I want Oakdale to have balanced books.”
Wheeler stated she believes her financial records experience will be of value in keeping records current and reconciled.
“I do extremely well with budgeting and cost control,” Wheeler said. “I’d like to see more growth in our economy and even out our budgets.”
Other important issues Wheeler believes the city needs to handle are what to do with streets in need of repair and traffic. She said this was a repeated concern of voters she talked to during her campaign
“We need to see if we can draw money from discretionary funds for this,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said she is backed for the position by Mayor Pat Paul.
City of Oakdale Administrative Assistant Kathy Teixeira said she has been preparing for the City Clerk job for a few years.
Teixeira, who has worked for the city since 1990 and the City of San Leandro for four years prior to that, has been taking courses through the International Institution of Municipal Clerks to obtain certification for the role. The organization is recognized by the state and designs programs to enhance cities of all sizes.
“The city clerk is a non-partisan position,” said Teixeira. “We have to remain non-biased despite any private political position.”
Teixeira points to her city experience working within various departments that gave her great expertise to the intricacies of the city operation and the various employees in the organization.
The Oakdale City Clerk is the compliance officer for public records, the Brown Act, and Political Reform Act. The position also prepares agendas, verifies legal notices have been posted or published, and completes the necessary arrangements to ensure an effective city government meeting.
Election Day is fast approaching; voters go to the polls for the local races, Presidential election and various state and county offices on Tuesday, Nov. 6 with the polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.