NC treasurer job no financial windfall |

NC treasurer job no financial windfall

Whoever wins the election for Nevada City’s city treasurer in March will get to sign city checks, make bank deposits, and explain the city’s finances to the general public.

All for $100 a month.

Running in the March 5 are incumbent Logan “Gene” Downing and Nielsen “Niel” Locke, an owner of Java John’s, a coffee shop a short walk from City Hall.

Downing said he brainstorms regularly with City Manager Beryl Robinson, who oversees the city’s $3.9 million annual budget.

Robinson is retiring April 30 after 361/2 years of service, and Downing said he wants to help the next city manager get established on the job.

Downing said he understands the way things are done in Nevada City and could answer the next city manager’s questions about the budget or other matters. “When you’re new to the job, it helps to have more than one person you can talk to,” he said.

“The City Council has no control over me,” said Downing, who donates his $100 stipend to Miners Foundry Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization in Nevada City.

Locke, who moved to Nevada City 25 years ago, said he wants to redefine the job of city treasurer. The city’s treasurer is now a figurehead, he said.

“It needs to be changed,” said Locke, 65, at his coffee shop recently. “I was not raised to take money without working for it … especially from the taxpayers.”

If elected, he said he would be a watchdog for the citizens of Nevada City and would answer people’s questions about the city’s finances.

Downing, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1974 from the University of Colorado. He moved to Nevada City in 1985 to build a family-run brewery. He retired from the company in 1996.

Locke earned a liberal arts degree from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 1958, and served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1963. Locke moved to Nevada City in 1979 to work at a restaurant before opening Java John’s in the mid-1990s.

City Clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes said checks are signed by either the mayor or the vice mayor and by the city clerk or the city treasurer.

The city has considered eliminating the position, but a proposal to have the treasurer appointed by the council was defeated in 1993.

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