Supervisors to Name Freddie Oakley’s Son-in-Law Interim County Clerk

Freddie Oakley in 2013
Freddie Oakley in 2013

Last week long time Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor Freddie Oakley announced she will be retiring at the end of the year to take a position in the Clinton campaign, ending a tenure that began in 2002.

That leaves a vacancy that needs to be filled administratively. County Administrator Patrick Blacklock is recommending that the Board of Supervisors name Chief Deputy Clerk/Recorder Jeffrey Barry, who is the son-in-law of Freddie Oakley, “as the interim Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor to temporarily discharge the duties of the Office until such time as the vacancy is filled by appointment, and authorize Jeffrey Barry to receive a salary increase of 10% as compensation for assuming the duties of the Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor, effective January 1, 2016 and continuing until the appointment of a Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor.”

According to Transparent California, Mr. Barry currently makes just under $94,000 in salary.

The Board would then appoint an ad hoc board “subcommittee to guide development of a recruitment process and appointment procedure for the remainder of Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor term, through January 8, 2019.”

It was explained to the Vanguard that this is a short-term appointment. It is expected that Mr. Barry would apply for the permanent appointment that would go until the 2018 elections select a replacement. Mr. Barry has the backing of Ms. Oakley – whose daughter he is married to.

The county staff report notes that Ms. Oakley has indicated her intention to retire from the office that she was re-elected to for a fourth time last year. “Her current term continues until January 8, 2019 and the new term begins at 12 o’clock noon on January 8, 2019 (Government Code section 24200). Accordingly, Ms. Oakley’s retirement creates a vacancy in the Office of the CRAE [Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Elections] that, under subsection (c)(1) of Government Code section 1770, must be addressed for the remaining 36 months of the existing term.”

Under Government Code section 24105, according to the staff report, “when the Office of the CRAE is vacant, the duties of that office may be temporarily discharged by a chief deputy until the vacancy is filled in the manner provided by law (Government Code section 24105).”

Section 24105 “does not make the chief deputy the Yolo County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessor when the Office becomes vacant; it merely gives the chief deputy the authority and duty as a chief deputy to perform the duties of the office while the office remains vacant.  Presently, the Chief Deputy Clerk-Recorder/Assessor is Jeffrey Barry.”

In filling the vacancy in the Office of the CRAE, “the Government Code requires the Board of Supervisors to fill the vacancy by appointment (Government Code section 25304). No provision exists in the law for a special election to fill the vacated position.  The appointee will hold office for the unexpired term  (Government Code section 25304).”

Freddie Oakley began her career with Yolo County in 1987 as Chief Deputy Public Guardian/Public Administrator.  Between 1991 and 1999, she held positions with the California Public Utilities Commission, California Legislator Burt Margolin, and Helyne Meshar & Associates.

In 1997, she was appointed by Gov. Wilson to fill the seat vacated by Yolo County Supervisor Helen M. Thomson who was elected to the California State Assembly. Oakley served the remainder of that term and then was appointed Chief Deputy Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters in 1999 under Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Tony Bernhard.

Upon his retirement, Oakley ran for and was elected Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters and has served Yolo County in that capacity since 2002.  In 2015, she took on the additional responsibility of Assessor.

“It has been an honor and a joy to work for and with the people of Yolo County since 1987,” said Freddie Oakley.  “When I left for a few years to work at the state level, I was amazed at how much I missed the county, and was thrilled when I had an opportunity to return.  All of the many staff that I have worked with here have been terrific colleagues.  I know that I am leaving these departments in the hands of capable, dedicated workers who know their jobs perfectly and do them with enthusiasm.”

“For almost three decades, in a variety of capacities, Freddie Oakley has served the people of Yolo County,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Matt Rexroad. “She is impassioned about what she’s done and we honor her for her amazing public service.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Barack Palin

    County CAO Patrick Blacklock, is recommending that the Board of Supervisors name Chief Deputy Jeffrey Barry, who is the son-in-law of Freddie Oakley, “as the interim Clerk-Recorder/Registrar

    How nice.

  2. sisterhood

    I hope they are now allowing homeless folks in Davis and the surrounding area to register Democrat. In 2004 it was very difficult to register as a Democrat in Yolo County,  if one was homeless.

      1. Tia Will


        And if they want to register Republican too, right?”

        Of course. There should be no legislated barriers to the registration to vote of any citizen, anywhere regardless of race, economic group, religion or party affiliation. Right ?

        1. sisterhood


          The few older homeless people who trusted me wanted to register as the party of “President Kennedy”. I told them that was the Democratic party. I am not making this up, I promise.  I do not know what would have happened if I had helped a homeless person who wanted to register, for example, the party of President Lincoln. I only can tell you my experience in 2004, which I documented in my journal.

        2. Frankly

          If they wanted to register as the “party of President Kennedy” they would not register Democrat.  They might register independent.

          With the modern Democrat party there is no resemblance to that of the Kennedy era.  In fact, the working class that Kennedy attracted are going to Trump.

    1. Davis Progressive

      Sisterhood- while I appreciate a lot of your contributions here, you are doing a grave disservice with your post.  It is way off topic.  The issue here is nepotism not whether homeless people can vote in Davis.  This guy has been hired by his mother in law, he had limited qualifications for the job and now she is pushing for him to be appointed to the position without an election.  It is absolutely disgusting and that the CAO and board of sups will go for it shows just how inbred and corrupt this county really still is.

      1. Barack Palin

        Thank you DP

        I don’t know how it’s supposed to work but my thoughts would’ve been a short interim position then an election as soon as feasible for the permanent position.  Not a committee assigning the position until Jan. 2019.

        It always seems to work out that a person who gets an appointment for an elected position has an advantage come election time if they decide to run.

      2. sisterhood

        “…it shows just how inbred and corrupt this county really still is.”


        If I mentioned a horrible (yes, horrible) experience I encountered when trying to help a homeless person turn in their voter registration form in Yolo Co., in the year 2004, how is my comment totally off topic here? I only have documentation via my personal journal but it was a real incident and it really did happen in Yolo Co.

  3. Tia Will


    I actually think that there is more than just the nepotism issue at play here. In her previous actions, Freddie Oakley has demonstrated personal integrity and her belief in the equality of all members of our community. I would see this kind of appreciation for equal application of the benefits of our society to all members as a critical aspect of this job.While I do not know the qualifications of her son in law, I do not think that this relationship should preclude him from the job any more than it should make it a guarantee that he gets it.  So honest question. Do you personally know that he is not qualified, or was this speculation on your part ?

    1. Davis Progressive

      Tia: how are we ever to know?  I think appearances matter – ESPECIALLY when you are dealing with the office that is in charge of the integrity of our electoral system.  And this whole thing stinks to high heaven.

      1. Tia Will


        how are we ever to know?”

        I agree that we cannot know. Where I do not necessarily agree is that it “stinks to high heaven”.

        I am a very firm believer in “innocent until proven guilty”. And appearances do matter. It just would seem that we see the “appearances” differently. My main consideration remains, what are his qualifications for the job ? If he is the best candidate for the interim position, he should be considered for it regardless of his relation to Ms. Oakley. If he is not the best candidate, he should not get the position, again, regardless of his relation to Ms. Oakley.


        1. Davis Progressive

          I respect you tia, but innocent until proven guilty is the legal standard for criminal convictions and it ignores the fact that people get arrested and placed into custody on far lesser evidence.  You’re misusing the standard here.  There is reasonable suspicion of favoritism and that requires us to do further examinations and call off the coronation.

        2. Miwok

          You can avoid appearances of conflict, but somehow this is not a small town with no other options except to hire relatives, IN THE SAME OFFICE?

          I am done with this County and City. To hold Ms Oakley up as a paragon of integrity then put a family member in charge of her old job, let alone work for her office, is a travesty. SHE may think she has integrity, but this does not look like it. I thought Davis was bad. But they might as well put the revolving door at Road 27 so the Davis People and Woodland and Yolo County, people can just exchange administrators on a regular basis?

          The fact her son-in-law is working the family business is fine, BUT usually it is somewhere else. If the youngster works in the same office, it implies he is not competent to work except his relative gave him a job, a la half the private multi-generational businesses everywhere. But the Vanguard readers start missing this point IMMEDIATELY. The fact Mr Blacklock RECOMMENDS HIM is even more suspicious and adds to the cabal mentality. Are THEY related too? These people should recuse themselves from the decision making, no?

      2. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        > And this whole thing stinks to high heaven.

        I’m impressed that DP is calling this out since it is rare that a “progressive” will call out a left leaning Democrat (and since “conservatives” rarely call out right leaning Republicans this stuff happens every day)…

        I just went to

        It looks like Freddie just wants her son it law to get the $175K total and pay & benefits she has so her daughter won’t have to live with a guy “only” making total pay & benefits of $113K.

        Freddie will take a pay cut when she retires and her husband (the Yale Law school grad in the Bohemian Club) is scraping by on his combined pensions of “only” $204K.

        1. Barack Palin

          Perhaps Freddie will run Republicans for Hillary. The way things are going there is a good chance there will be lots of Republicans for Hillary.

          I think Republicans will come together no matter who ends up being their candidate because they see Hillary for the total liar she is.  It will be anyone but Hillary in 2016.

  4. ryankelly

    My first reaction was, “What are we, Kentucky, where good jobs with the County are passed down through families?”

    I think we need more data, such as when he married Oakley’s daughter and who has been his supervisor all these years.

      1. Davis Progressive

        That’s another interesting aspect because Antonia is a deputy to Supervisor Chamberlain.  So is he going to recuse himself for voting for his deputy’s brother-in-law.  I’m telling you this all stinks.

        1. hpierce

          You truly don’t understand the concepts/goals/language of the ‘conflict of interest’ laws, do you?  Scary in someone in the legal profession, in the public sector…

        2. Davis Progressive

          interesting.  go get a cup of coffee.  first of all, i never used the term conflict of interest.  second, my concern is it again looks like nepotism.  third, i practice criminal law and don’t deal with conflict of interest law.  fourth, i never mentioned conflict of interest law.

        3. hpierce

          you used the term ‘recusal’ and implied it was warranted.  Only times I’ve seen the term ‘recusal’ used is in the conflict of interest terms.  Violating conflict of interest laws can rise to being a criminal matter.  I rest my case.

  5. SODA

    What are his qualifications other than deputy chief?

    to me the issue is more when he was hired, was there question then? As deputy chief I cannot imagine he has a supervisor other than the chief and is that in line with county hiring practice/rules for family member?

    Not to disparage Freddie’s retirement but 1 year into a 4 year term seems strange time to retire but maybe role with Clinton campaign is issue.

    1. Barack Palin

      Soda, you first brought my attention to this with your post a few days ago:

      Interim and replacements will be appointed not elected? Doesn’t she have an assistant who is a relative?

      And surprise, surprise.  Good sleuthing.

      1. SODA

        BP:  not sleuthing, just remembering as I was a poll worker in the last few cycles. As I said in that post, I admire Freddie for how I saw she ran the elections and for her heretofore mentioned passion for equal rights. Again, I would like to know the chief deputy’s qualifications and what the county’s policies are for relatives working for each other.

        1. Barack Palin

          Sorry, sleuthing was a wrong choice of words, but thanks for putting it out there.

          When you wrote that it registered in the back of my mind and then to see this article only a few days later gave me a hmmmmm moment.

    2. Tia Will


      Not to disparage Freddie’s retirement but 1 year into a 4 year term seems strange time to retire but maybe role with Clinton campaign is issue.”

      As per our personal discussion, decisions of when to retire are complicated and frequently involve many considerations. My own retirement planning has become convoluted and multifactorial as you know. I would certainly see the opportunity to work on a major and potentially historic national campaign as sufficient cause to retire regardless of how long I was in to my term !

      1. Davis Progressive

        You weren’t an elected official, elected to a fourth four year term. She could have retired at the end of her last term and allowed a replacement to be elected.  Instead she retires a year later allowing her son in law to be appointed – this stinks.

        1. Misanthrop

          There is a good chance that an opportunity with the Clinton campaign wasn’t on the table when she ran for her fourth term. Also Freddie explained that she couldn’t work for Clinton as a partisan while overseeing an election where Clinton would be on the ballot. That of course would be a bigger ethical problem than hiring and training her son-in -law. As for her son-in-law being chosen interim why are you mad at Freddie? She isn’t the one making the appointment of the interim.

        2. Davis Progressive

          i’m sorry given what ms. oakley is likely to do on the campaign, i would suggest that the clinton campaign is more the excuse rather than the reason that she is stepping down.

        3. Miwok

          coincidence coincidence coincidence

          Yeah right.

          She explained she could not work the job and her other job if Clinton was on the ballot? But she would if she could?

          “She” isn’t the one making the appointment? A county Supervisor is not either.. Really an orchestrated effort here..

        4. hpierce


          could be ‘raw politics’ (which I abhor)… remember the County Clerk, who defied the Supreme Court decision (and I don’t necessarily agree with that, but the fact is, it’s a “done deal”), supported by a prominent Republican (and all the media attention), and contrast her actions vs. Ms Oakley’s.  Connect the dots?  Ms Oakley may being “used” as a counter-point to that other County Clerk… I hope not, as Freddie’s politics may differ from mine, but on a pragmatic level, my experience was she was/is more than above average.

      2. SODA

        Yes Tia, I remember!  I also tend to agree with DP that a political and elected position may be a different animal than your or my experiences with when, how and why to retire. Although not necessary it would be interesting and make me less questioning of the timing if we knew what position she will be filling for the campaign. The original story did not mention that. Certainly her business and doesn’t need to be shared.

        1. hpierce

          Having worked the polls almost every election in YC the last 20 years, Tony B set up a great system, the elections staff (regular and PT) are well trained (and a strong ‘team’), Freddie enhanced and perpetuated the system, and except for a possible ‘leadership’/head coach role, the elections folk could continue on auto-pilot.  Not sure about the assessor function, but as to elections and recorder functions, but unless there has been recent turnover, staff could easily “keep on trucking”.

          With a general election coming up next November, I see no reason why the BOS wouldn’t choose to appoint a caretaker, and just have an election for the remaining term.  The codes don’t REQUIRE an election, but they also don’t prohibit it.

        2. Davis Progressive

          i guess that is a good thing, although i tend wonder how much was in spite of freddie,  she was notorious for coming in late and leaving just after lunch

          it will be interesting to see how well the assessors office functions.

  6. Misanthrop

    Nepotism in Yolo County! OMG! Of course this is the norm instead of the exception.

    And how did Freddie Oakley become qualified to be Clerk-Recorder? By being the assistant to the previous Clerk-Recorder. Running elections is not generally something you do without training so the Supervisors are sort of stuck at least in the interim. If they do a search they might find somebody else who is qualified to take the job who they prefer but right now they need someone who can hit the ground running.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “this is the norm instead of the exception.”

      it’s the norm to hire a relative from outside of the industry to be in a supervisory position?  given how the sheriff’s office operates, i guess so.

  7. zaqzaq

    One more instance of political nepotism.   We have to look no farther than our mayor for another.  Then again Pieto’s children work for him in the Sheriff’s office.  The new aristocracy in this country is the political class that brings their relatives into the family business usually based on the family name. and often the political machine behind the name.   Just look at Bush, Brown, Clinton,  Kennedy, Biden, Cuomo to name a few.

  8. Davis Progressive

    rexroad’s facebook post:

    This cracks me up. Freddie appointed Mr. Barry to this spot several years ago and never hid the fact that this was her son in law. She then stood for election against an opponent and no one said a thing.

    Now state law requires that as the #2 he fill the position on a short term basis until the Board of Supervisors makes an appointment — and Davis is flipping out. Chill out people.

    I don’t know Mr. Barry but by many accounts he is very capable of holding down this spot until we pick a permanent replacement for Freddie.

      1. Davis Progressive

        sorry but you’re wrong. democracy hinges on the running of fair and impartial elections.  as the institution that is tasked with overseeing those fair and impartial elections, the elections office has to be beyond reproach.  the fact that most people didn’t know that freddie’s son-in-law had been the deputy there doesn’t excuse what has transpired.  the supervisors didn’t interview him, so they are relying on the recommendation of the cao.  in the end, this thing makes me distrust the elections process here in yolo and if the supervisors go along with it, it makes me question them as well – more so than i already did.

  9. skeptical

    Corrupt decisions are made possible by corrupt organizations.  Hiring a family member or personal friend into a government position is corrupt and inexcusable.  It further corrupts the organization, and we cannot pretend such behavior is acceptable because the offender is popular or espouses shared political views.
    When Ms. Oakley was a County Supervisor, she got two friends appointed to the Yolo Housing Authority board with the intention of their subsequently voting for Ms. Oakley to become the director of the housing authority.  When that scheme blew up, Ms. Oakley solicited a position as Deputy Elections Clerk from her friend and acting Election Clerk, Tony Bernhard.  The pattern is well established:  Jim Provenza employing TWO friends as Deputy Supervisors, acting Davis School Board Members Sheila Allen and Gina Daleiden; the Davis City Council hiring their friend Dirk Brazil as City Manager; Sheriff Ed Prieto hiring family members into the Sheriff’s Department that he manages.   
    It is shameful that some commenters are willing to give a pass to the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors. Rexroad’s comment is nothing more than an admission that the deal is done.

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