McKay Maintains Edge in City Clerk Election

City Clerk candidate Ann Marie McKay. Courtesy of Anne Marie McKay.

U.S. Air Force veteran Ann Marie McKay was still ahead Friday in the campaign for Laguna Beach City Clerk following the first competitive election for the office in at least 20 years.

McKay was leading Mariann Tracy by less than 500 votes.

“I’m honored that the citizens of Laguna have put their trust in me to ensure the office is independent and transparency is improved,” McKay said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to leveraging my skills to improve service, building on the foundation laid by our previous City Clerks. I’m thankful for all the people that have enthusiastically supported me, allowing me this opportunity to do what I love, serve my community.”

Tracy has not conceded the election.

The upcoming retirement of City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker sparked a hard-fought campaign between McKay and Tracy, who serves as executive assistant to City Manager John Pietig.

City clerks play a critical role as stewards of documents and keeping the city compliant with public meeting laws and California Public Records Act. In city with litigious residents and property owners, missing a deadline or failing to share all releasable documents could become costly errors for the taxpayers.

McKay has portrayed herself as an independent candidate and her opponent as being too close to Pietig. She was endorsed by Village Laguna, which often finds itself at odds with city leaders.

In addition to her military service, McKay vowed to use her past experience working in the Community Development Department to guide her plan to implement new technology.

Tracy was supported by Liberate Laguna PAC and the outgoing clerk Chel-Walker. She claims Pietig tried to convince her not to run for city clerk.

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