Gary Felien, 51, serves as the city treasurer and has 29 years experience in accounting and executive managerial work.
As city treasurer he oversees the city’s portfolio of approximately $150 million. Felien said he advises the city in safe short-term investments, manages banking relationships, sees there is sufficient equity, monitors and reports on bonds, chairs the city’s citizen investment advisory committee, and provides monthly and quarterly reports to city council.
Felien has actively campaigned for Oceanside issues. He opposed the recall of Councilman Jerry Kerned that failed in December, and served as chairman on the Yes on K Oceanside Charter Committee that supported the city charter that passed in June. “I helped people get elected and help un-elect some people,” Felien said.
Felien also volunteers for numerous local nonprofit groups.
He said the biggest asset he brings to the city is his depth of experience in finance and accounting. Felien looks ahead to bring long-term financial solutions to the city. He said city employee pensions and health care costs need to be reeled in with a two-tier retirement plan. “The pensions and health care are mathematically unsustainable,” Felien said. “Pensions need to be defined by contribution, rather then defined by a benefit plan.”
He also sees a need to build citywide connectivity in the roadway infrastructure to create a more business-friendly city. Felien supports completing the Rancho Del Oro interchange to make the Rancho Del Oro business park more business competitive. “It was at the top of the SANDAG list of projects, but was stopped by an anti-business bias,” Felien said. “We need to think of the broad needs of the entire city. Activists only have their short term interests in mind.”
Felien also supports the completion of the Melrose Drive extension. “Oceanside would be a more desirable location for businesses,” Felien said. “College Boulevard is a nightmare. When people come to do business and see that, no one is going to be impressed.”
He said politics have gotten in the way of the city’s financial success. His recent request, as the chair of the investment advisory committee, to transfer city funds to local institutions in insured CD accounts in order to stimulate small business loans was shot down by council. “It’s no risk to the city whatsoever,” Felien said. “Small businesses suffer as a result.”
Felien said he would like to see positive politics that work in the city’s best interest.
“I’m a team player,” Felien said. “I get a consensus and move an idea forward. That’s the approach I take to issues and positions I’ve held.”
Filed Under: News