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AN EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK

Treasurer candidates may team tag Shultz

 

 

There are a lot of political tidbits flying fast and heavy and I don’t have time to write stories about all of them. So I’m going to dump as many of them as possible in this “for election junkies only” column.

Here you will find the latest on the local elections that might interest you, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Trump and Clinton (unless local clubs are having political confabs or get-togethers.)

By the time you read this a press conference with one, two and maybe three of the candidates for treasurer will have occurred on the steps of City Hall an hour before Wednesday’s city council meeting.

The purpose will be to publicly condemn candidate Doug Shultz for saying in his campaign literature (but not in his candidate’s statement) that he was an “volunteer assistant treasurer” for a year for retiring Treasurer Ken Hugins, who, along with most of the city council, has endorsed Shultz.

When we first heard rumblings about this issue the Times-Advocate contacted Hugins to see if the outgoing treasurer could clarify what Shultz’s role had been, and if he had been bonded in order to look at city financials.

Hugins answered: “Doug has been a volunteer for the City Treasurer’s office. He originally expressed interest a couple of years ago. We cleared this with the appropriate people in personal as well as the City Manager’s office.

“He has not needed to have access to ‘secure’ city information so that sort of information was never give to him. And, no bond was needed.”

Then the campaign of Ryan Clark asked for a comment from the city attorney and got this email, which they forwarded to the paper:

“Thank you for your email. Following are some items in response, both to your email and to your voicemail left with City Clerk, Diane Halverson.

“You filed a public records request for certain information related to the ‘Assistant City Treasurer’ and to volunteer Douglas Shulz (sic). You were provided various emails and other information; I believe the only item which the City did not release was the volunteer application form — like the City’s employment applications, we do not generally release such information simply because personal information is included on the form.

“Mr. Schulz (sic) served as a volunteer for the City Treasurer. As a volunteer, his access to information was and is limited, and certainly is not permitted for any type of sensitive or confidential information.

“The City does not have a formal position as ‘Assistant City Treasurer.’ Several provisions of the Escondido Municipal Code refer to a ‘Deputy City Treasurer.’ The City’s Classification

Schedule refers to a ‘Treasury Manager’ position, and there is an obsolete classification of ‘Deputy City Treasurer.’ The City’s budget document refers to three positions in the Treasury department — these are the City Treasurer, a “Treasury Manager” and a “Senior Accounting Assistant.”

Jeffrey R. Epp
City Attorney
City of Escondido

In response to these two emails, Clark issued the following statement:

“I’m disappointed to learn that Mr. Shultz’ assertion that he has been the ‘volunteer assistant treasurer’ was perhaps embellished. I believe that our next Treasurer needs to have the highest of ethical standards. While I disagree with Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Jackson on the specific role of our Treasurer and level of effort our taxpayers deserve, all three of us are committed to honest portrayals of our lives and opinions. Integrity matters.

“An ethical lapse during the campaign suggests a potentially dangerous situation should the candidate be elected. As you are aware, I filed a formal complaint against Mr. Shultz to the FPPC because, whether through negligence or intent, he failed to disclose economic interests as demanded by the law. In one case, the form clearly articulated 28 times that spousal investments and income are to be reported; yet, he failed to do as required. Our Treasurer needs to comply with the law at all times — our city can’t afford more substantiated legal challenges.

“I’m also concerned about how Mr. Shultz amassed endorsements from Mr. Hugins and others. What vetting, if any, was performed prior to these endorsements? In my line of work, anything bearing my name means that I have personally inspected and approve of the quality. Those who have endorsed Mr. Shultz should have provided more oversight to his campaign materials and legal disclosures. I would recommend that Mr. Shultz’ endorsers immediately confer with him and determine a path forward.”

Blaise Jackson’s comment on this was succinct:

“I don’t need to embellish my resume. Honesty and integrity are the most important characteristics and candidate can bring to the job. it doesn’t speak well for a candidate who is willing to compromise those characteristics to get the job in the first place.”

Robby Fawcett’s comment was even more abbreviated: “I have been wondering why a part-time City Treasurer needs volunteer help.”

* * *

A Little Morning Joe

In the “holding a grudge” department ECCHO (Escondido Country Club Home Owners) has come out in support of Joe Garcia for City Council in District 3. His opponent is Olga Diaz.

Last week ECCHO board advised its members, “While we cannot vote for him directly, since ECC is in District 2, we can support his candidacy and need to do so.

He’s a man of integrity and will be the impartial third vote when the time comes for a developer to submit a plan to the City of Escondido. He is pro-development, but stresses that it must be the right project in the right location. He does not support the development of 392 homes on the ECC property. Joe will listen to all sides, make a fair decision, then stand by his vote. His word is his bond.”

ECCHO is urging its members to volunteer for Garcia to distribute flyers and walk his neighborhoods.


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