The Making of a Great Oxnard City Treasurer

CandidatesCornerBy Peter K. Godinez

History, People and Facts about Oxnard City Treasurer


“The only requirement we have now for a treasurer is that the person be 18 TreasurerIconyears old, a resident of Oxnard and a good campaigner.”

-Manuel M. Lopez, Oxnard Councilman 1987.

The first recorded City Treasurer of Oxnard was Leon Lehman, on Monday April 11, 1904. Lehman was a pioneer business person carrying a stock of general merchandise in grain which started in 1898.

  • There have been eight City Treasurers in the history of Oxnard.
  • There have been two women/six men in this position.
  • Three of the eight City Treasurers have resigned.

Former Oxnard Treasurers:

Begin Date End Date Name of Treasurer Time in Office (approx.)
4/11/1904 4/11/1910 Leon Lehman 6 years
4/11/1910 4/12/1920 Ben Virden 10 years
4/12/1920 4/14/1930 Rudolph Beck

(resigns 4/14/1930 Continues as City Council member 4/8/1952)

10 years
4/22/1930 4/12/1960 William H. Groff 30 years
4/12/1960 4/8/1980 Geraldine W. Furr 20 years
4/8/1980 11/4/1986 Robert Dela Cruz

(Resigns 11/4/1986)

6 years
12/23/1986 11/8/1988 Geraldine W. Furr


2 years
11/8/1988 11/4/2008 Dale V. Belcher 10 years
11/4/2008 9/10/2016 Danielle “Danie” Navas


8 years


Salary for Oxnard Treasurer/City Clerk (Not including benefits)

The Salary schedule below shows the City Clerk and City Treasurer are the same range.

  • Bottom $103,000
  • Current Position $128,771
  • Top $142,100
  • The median household income  $60,736.

The former City Treasurer’s Total Compensation Package was $154,945.11 per year. The position is currently open, as the incumbent left before her term expired.



What should an Oxnard City Treasurer Actual Do?

The Treasurer has a watchdog role over all aspects of financial management, working closely with other members of the Management Committee to safeguard the organization’s finances.

A good City treasurer will:

  • be capable of handling figures and cash;
  • have an orderly mind and methodical way of thinking;
  • have experience in dealing with large sums of money and budgets in government.
  • have experience in financial control and budgeting;
  • have financial qualifications or relevant experience;
  • have good communication and interpersonal skills;
  • possess the ability to ensure decisions are taken and followed-up;
  • Be conversant with applicable laws, regulations and practices

One of the key words that are repeated in this limited list is “Experience”.  The City of Oxnard cannot afford to have a City Treasurer who is learning on the job or has to come up to the curb (even quickly), so the more relevant skills and experience, the better.

Treasurer candidate Phil Molina offered relevant excerpts from applicable laws:

1. The Treasurer is elected by the public, but has other duties as assigned my the city manager and as such also reports directly to the city manager, per City Codes:

(B) The city Treasurer shall also perform such administrative duties as assigned by the city manager.
(`64 Code, Sec. 2-4.3) (Ord. No. 2203, 2350)

2. The Treasurer has  authority to terminate staff and appoint staff, per State law: (contradicted by city codes?)

The city treasurer may appoint deputies for whose acts he and his bondsmen are responsible.
The deputies shall hold office at the pleasure of the city treasurer and receive such compensation as is provided by the legislative body.
(Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79.)
3. Treasurer must have knowledge and experience of governmental accounting, government investment law, be able to interpret input and output (debts and credits) in the process of accounting and financial information: City webpage:
Knowledge of:
Principles and practices of general, fund and governmental accounting and investment, including financial statement preparation and methods of financial reporting; principles, practices, laws and regulations governing the investment and management of public funds; investment vehicles and market operations affecting the management of funds; auditing principles and practices; principles and practices of business data processing particularly related to the processing of accounting and financial information and the interpretation of input and output.
4. Prepares monthly fiscal  reports and sends them to the city clerk and copies the city council: according to state law:
Regularly, at least once each month, the city treasurer shall submit to the city clerk a written report and accounting of all receipts, disbursements, and fund balances. He shall file a copy with the legislative body.
(Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79.)
5.  Pays all legal obligations by the use of “warrants” per State law:
He shall pay out money only on warrants signed by legally designated persons.
(Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79.)

6. The Treasurer is responsible for all money received by any and every  city personnel according to State law:
The city treasurer shall receive and safely keep all money coming into his hands as treasurer.
(Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79.)
He shall comply with all laws governing the deposit and securing of public funds and the handling of trust funds in his possession.
(Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79.)

Where is an Oxnard City Treasurer on the Organization Chart?

Given all the qualifications our next Oxnard City Treasurer must have, it is well worth looking closely at where this elected position is located on the 2016 City of Oxnard Organizational Chart.

Source:  (page 31)


Accountability Factor

“Oxnard elected treasurers do not have to report to city officials, they have “an independent accountability” to the voters that protects public funds against misuse “

Michael Plisky – City Council Member 1987

In my article “The Making of a Great City Clerk”, I wrote concerning the accountability factor.  The City Clerk will be responsible for informing the City Council of items necessary to make clear-cut decisions on the well-being of Oxnard.  Thus the City Council can keep the City Manager accountable for enforceable action(s).  The org chart above represents the City Clerk has a dotted line responsibility to the Assistant City Manager .   A “dotted line” represents a supervisory figure who can assign tasks to employees, has some form of authority over employees but who is not their direct manager.

The point here is that the City Treasurer has no direct report.  They do not answer to the City Manager, Assistant City Manager (not even a “dotted line”) and City Council.

We are told that City Treasurer’s position has about 7 employees they are responsible for.  Even the Finance Director position is also a “dotted- line” reporting responsibility and actually reports in to the Assistant City Manager.

This is not meant to negatively criticize the Organizational Chart or the way the City of Oxnard is structured, but just the way it is.

Indeed, the next City Treasurer of Oxnard will need to have financial wisdom, experience, interpersonal skills and an ability to be successful without the traditional pressures of having a “boss” and any “direct reports”.  Oh, and yes, being a “Good Campaigner”, being 18 or older, and being a knowledgeable resident of Oxnard will help too.


Bonus Question:  Should the City Treasurer have an annual evaluation or report card showing the status of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) written by an appointed committee?  A key performance indicator (KPI) is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. KPIs differ per organization.


Come and see for yourself- there are local Forums where you can see, hear and meet face-to-face with the Candidates running for both the City Treasurer and City Clerk office.

Coming up soon!  ….

Oxnard Candidate Forum- Treasurer and City Clerk candidates- October 5-2016



To See Statements from Candidates Running for Office in Ventura County please visit:

The Citizens Candidates Corner section or

List of 2016 City of Oxnard Treasurer candidates (Listed in order as they appear on city Website)


Peter K. Godinez is a longtime document management professional in the information services industry, as well as a Citizen of Oxnard who desires to see this community thrive to the best of its abilities and potential.

LinkedIn Profile:

Peter Godinez
Education & Public Sector Account Executive
Tel: 800-769-2679
Cell: (818) 430-6945

M a k i n g  B u s i n e s s  E a s i e r

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