YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Our View

Our view: Oakley, Neustadt for Yolo offices

By From page A12 | May 11, 2014

The issue: Experience counts for these two important jobs

Yolo County voters will find themselves at a crossroads in June’s election when they’re asked to choose someone to fill the newly created position of clerk-recorder-assessor. If it sounds like a mouthful, that’s nothing compared to the breadth of responsibilities that resulted when the Board of Supervisors combined the office of county assessor with that of clerk/recorder.

The person chosen to lead the consolidated department will have to juggle an entirely new skill set and find the right touch to lead existing staff through the transition.

FOR THIS REASON, we think incumbent Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley is the woman for the job. With a background that includes 20 years in management in county government — including 11 years heading the elections office — Oakley has the requisite experience and demonstrated management skills to lead both departments into this next stage.

In her time as clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, Yolo County elections have run as smoothly as any in the state. Her office has consistently been ahead of the curve when it came to dealing with the almost constant changes in election law, as well as the technological changes that have revolutionized how people vote in this country.

Whether it was vote-by-mail or electronic vote-counting machines, she has been able to move at just the right pace to ensure accessibility to the voting public and protect the integrity of the process.

Which is why we believe she can handle the $20 billion in property that the assessor’s office deals with on top of her existing duties. As recorder, her staff already handles real-estate transactions (things like sales, liens, purchases and easements), and while the newly consolidated departments will bring substantial extra work, Oakley has demonstrated the ability to adapt and meet similar challenges. She’ll be an asset at the combined department, and bring good value to Yolo County.

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FOR THE POSITION of Yolo County superintendent of schools, we believe the best choice is Sam Neustadt, currently assistant superintendent for Solano County. A 20-year Yolo County resident and veteran K-12 educator, he has risen through the ranks of public education, including stints as an elementary teacher, principal and administrator in the state Department of Education.

The county’s Office of Education has a diverse set of responsibilities. It runs special-education services, as well as educating students who’ve been expelled from schools around the county and those in Juvenile Hall. In addition, it maintains fiscal oversight of the local school districts, vetting their budgets for compliance with a multitude of regulations.

Neustadt’s years as an educator and administrator are just the sort of preparation one would wish for this job. The alternative-education programs are complex and unique, requiring an experienced, steady hand to deal with them. He’s overseen educational staff and come up with the intricate budgets an education department needs.

Experience matters for this position, and Neustadt has it.

Our choices:

Davis City Council: Rochelle Swanson, Robb Davis

California Assembly, 4th District: Joe Krovoza

Measure O, city of Davis half-percent sales tax increase: Yes

Measure P, city of Davis water rates initiative: No

Yolo Superior Court judge: Janene Beronio

Yolo County clerk/recorder/assessor: Freddie Oakley

Yolo County superintendent of schools: Sam Neustadt

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