Much of the controversy over the movement to create a constitutional convention for California surrounded the make-up of the convention: who would comprise the convention delegates and how they would be selected. The Constitution today provides that “Delegates to a constitutional convention shall be voters elected from districts as nearly equal in population as may be practicable.”
Seeking to avoid a panic over direct elections for delegates, proponents announced an excruciatingly detailed process for selecting 465 delegates, involving a random jury-pool selection for about half the members and a highly-constrained selection by local elected officials for the other half. In all, about 3,300 words are consumed detailing delegate qualifications and the selection process. Take that, special interests!
But if you’re looking for a power center in this meta-process, skip all the delegate selection arcana, and focus on the powers, duties and responsibilities of the quaintly-named “Clerk.”
Even before the convention delegates are selected, a Clerk is hired by the Fair Political Practices Commission (which for these purposes is reconstituted as a Convention Commission). When the FPPC is not convened in its role as the Convention Commission, the Clerk “may act in the name of the Commission.”
The Clerk is responsible for:
· Serving as temporary chair of the convention until a chair is selected.
· Presenting a schedule for convention activities and decisions.
· Preparing the “education of delegates on the areas of the Constitution subject to revision.”
· Preparing the rules of procedures for the conduct and operation of the convention.
· Selecting and presenting to the convention any proposals “submitted by experts selected by the Clerk,” and submitted by others as “selected by the Clerk.”
· The Clerk also hires all staff and consultants and oversees all communications from the convention, including the convention website.
The Clerk serves at the pleasure of the FPPC, and may be dismissed by the convention, but only if two-thirds of all the delegates approve.
So to summarize, the Clerk may act in the name of the supreme regulatory body overseeing the convention, sets the convention’s agenda, hires its staff, educates the delegates on all the issues under their purview, selects the specific proposals that the convention will consider, and communicates its official policies and decisions.
Best of all, there doesn’t seem to be any constraint on the Clerk’s salary or benefits.
Where do I apply?