Footnotes on the city clerk salary story

Since I had already gone running and screaming out the door for my week long summer vacation by the time my city clerk salary story was published in the newspaper, here are some footnotes on the story that I can now share since I have been restored to the working-class real world.

San Dimas – who is noted in the story as not responding to public records request in time for the story – responded the Monday following the article’s publish date. The city clerk’s annual salary is $99,600.

In fairness, Debra Black noted the city responded within the 10-day window allowed for records requests by law. Although, I submitted the request to the very person the request pertained to, so I didn’t think it would take too long.

Here is a letter from Christian G. Shalby, executive director of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks:

Dear Mr. Tedford,

I just read your August 15 article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on City Clerk Salaries and found it highly interesting, informative and a clear depiction of the Municipal Clerk profession.

As Executive Director of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), I couldn’t agree more with your assessment on the value of the Clerk’s profession. It is unheralded and often misunderstood, but important to the mix and function of municipalities. Mr. Johnson’s comments also ring true, especially when it comes to handling elections and important city filings.

As much as some people may frown at the high salaries, they’re comparatively low when you weigh in on the responsibility assigned to this position.

IIMC is a professional nonprofit association with more than 10,000 members throughout North America and 15 other countries, representing municipalities with populations of 1,000 to more than 8 million. The Organization has been in existence since 1947. We prepare our membership to meet the challenge of the diverse role of the Municipal Clerk by providing services and continuing educational development opportunities in 45 permanent college-and university-based learning centers. IIMC offers Municipal Clerks a Certified Municipal Clerk Program (CMC), a Master Municipal Clerk Academy (MMCA) Program and other opportunities to benefit members and the government entities they serve.

I appreciate your time and the well-written article.

Thank you.


Jane, an eager reader, is a little upset the story didn’t focus more on Santa Fe Springs and a potential conflict of interest.

Mr. Tedford,

You mention in your article the salaries for the City Clerks in California are sometimes high and in the case of Santa Fe Springs, the City Manager functions as the City Clerk, isn’t it a big conflict of interest since the city clerk handles the city elections and is one of the most delicate and sensitive duties that the city clerk has? How is that this is allowed? or the City Manager did not want to provide the salary information for the residents of Santa Fe Springs so your readers be fully informed. Also, it will be convenient to inform your readers of the specific duties that a City Clerk does in a given city.
Please provide an answer to this request. Thank you for providing these kind of information to your reading audience.

Jane (last name redacted)

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Weekend Review: Top News = I’m Back!

My vacation is but a distant abstract in the rear view window of my life and the busy catch-up of this week awaits me.

I hope you all missed me. If not, thanks for the web hits!

This story is just shocking, like something out of a television show. Azusa woman killed in Pomona shooting was key witness in capital gang case. Daily Bulletin reporter (sister paper) Will Bigham does a good job telling the story.

In another Sunday report, Bethania Palma Markus looked at salaries of area police chiefs. A question for the reader folk: What city characteristics are most important when determining the pay for a police chief – population size or amount of crime? If amount of crime, should a city with a higher crime rate pay more for a police chief? or should the city with minimal crime “reward” the police chief?

More to come today as I get back in the saddle, or the wagon, or on track, or whatever – as I get
back, get back to where I once belonged.

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Irwindale City Council earns $160 in two minutes

During the course of our reporting on city finance, reporter Daniel Tedford found out an interesting quirk about Irwindale.
During their City Council meetings, the council convenes two other governing bodies: the city’s redevelopment agency and it’s housing authority.

The get paid $60 for the redevelopment agency and $100 for the housing authority.

Tedford found out they often convene the meetings even if there is nothing to talk about on the agenda.
I had to see it for myself, so I went to their council meeting last week.

After talking about a parking garage and getting a presentation from the city’s chamber of commerce, the council opened the redevelopment agency. In a total of about 60 seconds, they opened the public comment period, approved the minutes and Manuel Garcia requested an update. Then the meeting was closed. The same thing happened with the housing authority.

Five people were in the audience: me, two of Councilman Mark Breceda’s friends, a woman and a man with a very full mustache.

City Attorney Fred Gallante said the council is mandated to approve minutes from the previous housing authority and redevelopment agency meetings. No other city I know of does this.

Vacation time

Just a little head’s up for those of you who get your late night (news) snack from us (Get it, it is called Leftovers? it was a food pun? never mind).

I am going to be out of the office for the next week enjoying some R&R. Keep checking the blog while I am away as (hopefully) the other reporters will try to entertain you in my absence. Until then, here is a crappy overplayed pop song that exemplifies what I am doing with part of its lyrics.

(UPDATED) Montebello embraces the red tape before divulging employee’s salary

Whittier Daily News reporter Bethania Palma Markus told me a neat little story today (it was surprisingly not cat/kitten related*).

In our continued effort to give a broad look at city employee salaries, I am writing a piece on City Clerk salaries that you can look for this weekend.

Bethania was helping me out by giving a quick call over to Montebello to check for their Deputy City Clerk’s salary.

But she ran into some resistance.

She called and spoke with Janina Medrano and requested, verbally, the salary for the Deputy City Clerk. Medrano said Bethania had to submit a public records request for the information. When Bethania tried to explain that a verbal request constitutes a formal request and the information should be readily available, Medrano said city policy dictates all requests must be in writing.

Bethania said she would speak to the city attorney regarding that policy. Medrano then quickly said goodbye and hung up the phone.

Transparency at its finest.

*Bethania Palma Markus loves cats/kittens and reminds us of their charm and beauty whenever she can.

UPDATE: Just got this from Bethania.

“Hi Daniel, so as I said I spoke with Montebello City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman about the public records request policy and this is what he said:

There is no written policy regarding the obligation to put public records act requests in writing, however it’s been the practice of the city to request that the public record act requests be put in writing
-To document the request
-To respond in a timely fashion
-To make sure records are disclosable.

“It’s been a practice of the city which is currently under review and evaluation,” he said.

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Monterey Park council salaries

Monterey Park was one of the few cities that we weren’t able to get into our story about council salaries in the San Gabriel Valley.

Today we change history!

Council members bring in a whopping (sarcasm) $500 a month, plus the standard $30 per redevelopment agency meeting with a maximum four meetings per month.

Elected officials also get full city health benefits.

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Two-week leak finally gets plugged in West Covina

Reading the paper today (online), I missed this story about how a West Covina water leak lasted two weeks before crews were able to fix it and I thought maybe you missed it too.

In a time when cities, water districts and political officials are clamoring about water levels and the need to conserve, you would think organizations would move pretty quick to plug a leak.

For those of you who pay your water bills (many of which have been raised in the last year or two), and have cut back on water consumption, what did you think when you heard about this two-week leak?

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Can a seed really grow inside your body? Haha, of course not. (wait…what?)

Remember when you were a kid and that kid with the slicked back black hair despite being 8 years old told you that if you eat a watermelon seed you would grow watermelons in your stomach? You laughed him off the playground then, but when you went home you asked your mom for reassurance that wasn’t possible. Good ‘ol mom told you how silly that was and you rested easy that night.

Well mom was WRONG. (kind of)

Check out this story in Massachusetts where an elderly man thought he had cancer. Ends up he didn’t, he just had a pea sprout growing inside his body. Let me repeat. Pea sprout. Inside. Body.

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Elderly woman, daughter of former Rosemead mayor, and her husband found stabbed in their home

We are investigating the stabbing death of a Rosemead couple found in their home Monday night.

It appears that one of the victims, Susan Bezner, was also the daughter of former Rosemead Mayor Stuart Maude and the couple was well-known in the community. Look for more in tomorrow’s newspaper and online.

Here is today’s story:

ROSEMEAD – Coroner’s officials Tuesday identified a couple found stabbed to death inside their Rosemead home Monday night as Jack and Susan Bezner, longtime residents with deep ties to the city.

Jack Bezner, 71, was a longtime employee of the Savannah Cemetery in Rosemead. His wife, Susan Bezner, 64, was the daughter of former Rosemead Mayor Stuart Maude.

The couple were found at about 8 p.m. in the home in the 4200 block of Arica Avenue. Detectives were at the home until past 3 a.m. Tuesday, but Lt. Michael Rosson of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau said no new information was available. Both deaths were being investigated as homicides, he and coroner’s officials said.