Former treasurer Ernie O’Dell receives a key to the city from Mayor Mike Gin after announcing his early retirement, ending a nearly 18-year career as the city’s treasurer. Now, three candidates are running to fill his place. Photo by Rachel Reeves
Three Redondo Beach residents are running for city treasurer, a position that comes with a $116,950 salary, health insurance, a cell phone, a car allowance, and a pension.
City Clerk Eleanor Manzano confirmed that the following three candidates met the Feb. 15 filing deadline: former councilman Chris Cagle, incumbent councilman Steve Diels, and NoPowerPlant.com president Dawn Esser.
Cagle was a city councilman for two consecutive terms, from 2003 until 2009. He said he was first elected because he led a petition drive in 2002 that rescinded the proposed Heart of the City project, a $49 million development earmarked for the harbor area. He was re-elected in 2005.
Cagle also owns Southland Funding, a real estate financing firm through which he does commercial and apartment real estate loans. He is also a loan officer for residential loans at American Capital Corporation.
“Professionally, I have 20 years of experience working as a business owner in the finance industry where analysis of financial documents is a routine part of my work,” he wrote in his candidate statement.
Cagle was selected by the Chamber of Commerce to be the Redondo Beach Man of the Year in 2012.
Diels is currently serving out his second and final term as the District 4 council member, and owns an answering service company.
He is recommending a salary cut for the treasurer.
“I have government and private sector experience,” Diels said. “I have managed a business. I’m CFO of a business and the treasurer’s position is essentially CFO of the city. That combination of private sector and public sector experience prepares me very well for this position, but that’s not the main issue. [The main issue] is I want to reform the position. The treasurer’s department costs $500,000 and it doesn’t need to cost that much. I can save a ton of money and update the management of that department.”
Esser, the president of NoPowerPlant.com, has become a household name for her involvement with the campaign to permanently retire the AES power plant on Harbor Drive.
She said her financial background and experience make her the ideal candidate for the position.
“I think it is an important position,” Esser said. “[The treasurer] is holding the purse strings of the Redondo residents’ tax monies and I think it’s important to make sure [the treasurer] has the right experience and education.”
Esser has an MBA in finance and experience as a financial analyst, finance director, and real estate investor.
“I want to serve the residents of Redondo and I want to make sure that a qualified person is in there doing the job – that’s why I’m running,” she said.
Former treasurer Ernie O’Dell, who held the position for nearly 18 years, announced his early retirement late last year. The city arranged a special election for May 14, the expected date of a runoff for the March 5 election.