Clayton is a well-managed city that has tightened spending during the economic downturn. Despite an 8 percent reduction in the general fund budget, the city has the same number of employees as it did before the Great Recession.

To be sure, we're not talking large dollars for a city of 11,000 residents. The city today is run with a $3.5 million budget and 26 employees, including 11 sworn members of the police force.

To make ends meet, the city eliminated holiday premium pay for police and required furlough days for other workers. Although the city offers employees a nice pension program, it never adopted the overly generous benefits of most other cities.

However, the city still fails to require employees to contribute toward their pensions. Employees should bear a portion of the cost.

Nevertheless, because of the city's solid finances, we endorse incumbents Julie Pierce and Howard Geller for re-election. They are among five candidates running for three seats.

The third incumbent in the race, Joe Medrano, resigned his council seat following his conviction this month for felony embezzlement. An insurance broker, Medrano took $159,000 from a client and never forwarded it to the insurance company.

Neither of the other two contenders impressed us as strong candidates. In the end, we opt for Kevin Liberman over Jim Diaz because of Liberman's stronger business credentials. We expect either candidate would join forces with the incumbents to preserve the fiscal discipline we currently see.



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