PLEASANT HILL -- Pleasant Hill voters will choose a political newcomer to fill the office of city clerk -- the official keeper of the records, enforcer of campaign finance rules and facilitator of elections.
Michael Bepler and Kimberly Lehmkuhl both say their organizational skills and attention to detail would serve them well in the part-time position. Marty McInturf, who is also the part-time city clerk in Moraga, is not seeking re-election.
Bepler, 40, is a real-estate agent and builder who grew up in Rodeo and has lived in Pleasant Hill for a dozen years. As a builder, Bepler said he deals with multiple city governments and is experienced at managing the details of contracts.
"My personality, my experience are suited for the position, and I want to participate in the community," he said. "I feel an obligation to give back."
Lehmkuhl, 32, is a campaign manager for a national civil rights and voting rights group. Lehmkuhl grew up in Walnut Creek and has lived in Pleasant Hill for two years.
"I'm really interested in running city elections and getting people more involved in city government," she said.
In Contra Costa County, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Antioch, San Pablo and Pittsburg have elected city clerks.
Although the city clerk tends to fly under the radar, the work is important. Among other duties, the city clerk signs all official resolutions and ordinances, attends every City Council meeting and must produce accurate minutes, said June Catalano, Pleasant Hill's city manager.
Lehmkuhl says she's interested in "good government" and public policy but not politics. She sees the city clerk position as a way to get involved in city government without holding a political position. She would like to make city records more accessible, especially to younger residents. While she applauds the archive of agendas, minutes and video on Pleasant Hill's website, she would like to make searching for specific topics more intuitive. For example, she suggests organizing documents by topic so residents can easily find information without needing to know the exact date of a meeting.
Bepler emphasizes a commitment to transparency and public service. He also sees a more public role for the city clerk -- by attending events and being available to answer residents' questions -- while maintaining neutrality. He also suggested highlighting the issues before the council in Outlook, the city's newsletter. Bepler said he is studying election law.
"I've been a part of the city for the past 12 years. I want to participate in maintaining the quality of life in Pleasant Hill," he said. "My experience in real estate as a builder meshes well with the requirements of a good city clerk."
In addition to administrative skills and a penchant for careful record keeping, Lehmkuhl touts her voting rights work and legal training as qualifications for city clerk. She also wants to help people become candidates and comply with election law. She also hopes to bolster the public's faith in government.
"I'm a hard-nosed, detail-oriented person who likes making sure that processes work," Lehmkuhl said.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.