The Coast News Group
Oceanside City Council will soon consider implementing requirements for city treasurer. Photo by Samantha Nelson
Oceanside City Council will soon consider implementing requirements for city treasurer. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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Oceanside to consider minimum requirements for city treasurer

OCEANSIDE — The city is is expected to implement minimum education and professional experience requirements for candidates seeking the treasurer position.

The Oceanside City Council directed staff to bring back the minimum requirements for the treasurer position at the Aug. 10 meeting.

Currently, the only requirements to run for treasurer are candidates must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter living in Oceanside.

Staff will look toward the examples of nearby cities, such as Carlsbad, which requires candidates to have a four-year college degree in finance or a business-related field and four years of financial work experience, to develop potential requirements for Oceanside.

The move happened nearly a month after the city manager’s office began investigating ethics allegations against Treasurer Victor Roy. 

Over a year ago, in June 2021, Roy was caught looking at “inappropriate material, ” including nude photos on a computer at the Mission Branch Public Library.

At the time, Roy was reminded of the rules against viewing nudity on the computers and an incident report was recorded. The report stated Roy followed directions and ceased looking at the photos. If he had continued, he could have lost library privileges for up to a year.

The city is also investigating allegations from a correspondence suggesting Roy tried to solicit campaign donations from Treasury Manager Steve Hodges and tried to get him to begin reinvesting in Higgins Capital Management of La Jolla.

Oceanside’s Code of Ethics states that elected officials cannot solicit political support from staff members or involve themselves in awarding contracts.

The city treasurer oversees the city’s nearly $500 million investment fund to make sure investments are made according to policy.

At the Aug. 10 meeting, City Attorney John Mullen explained that the treasury manager does the day-to-day work while the treasurer provides oversight.

“While the Treasury Manager is in charge of the investment portfolio and initiates trades and ‘pull downs,’  all trades are reviewed by the financial services director and the elected treasurer,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman in an email to The Coast News further clarifying the role of treasurer.

Hodges has recently resigned from his position as treasury manager “in good standing,” Gossman said. His last day is November 1. The city manager’s office has already started searching for a new treasury manager.

Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim said the allegations against Roy at this time also brought another concern to light – the need for minimum requirements for the treasurer position.

“I specifically asked our treasurer yesterday if he would come today and address any of these educational requirements,” Keim said at the meeting. “He said he wasn’t required to – this is the second council meeting in a row where he hasn’t come to council and addressed any of these concerns, so that was concerning to me.”

Unlike council members, the city treasurer is not required to be present at every council meeting.

According to his former campaign website, Roy graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a degree in geography. He has yet to respond to The Coast News’ request for comment regarding the ethics violations and the majority of the Council’s desire to implement requirements for his position.

Mayor Esther Sanchez was the sole vote against the direction to bring back requirements for the city treasurer mainly due to the “character assassination” of Roy at the meeting.

“I don’t think this would really do anything,” Sanchez said. “We voters have always had the opportunity to ask candidates what their qualifications are, and people get voted in because they have a good relationship with the community, which apparently Mr. Roy does and did.”

Roy has been Oceanside’s treasurer since 2018.

Staff is expected to bring back potential treasurer requirements within 30 days of the Aug. 10 meeting.