History of the Office

Office History

The Long Beach City Auditor’s Office is rich with history as only ten individuals have served as City Auditor since its beginning in 1908.

 

Long Beach City Auditors     

1908 – 1912 Ira S. Hatch

1912 – 1913 Lewis W. Shuman

1913 D. M. Rankin

1914 – 1915 Harvey Durkee

1915 – 1919 Charles O. Boynton

1919 – 1951 Myrtelle L. Gunsul

1951 – 1961 John R. Mansell

1961 – 1976 Murray T. Courson

1976 – 1992 Robert E. Fronke

1992 – 2006 Gary Burroughs

2006 – Present Laura L. Doud

 

1896 – 1951

The City of Long Beach was first incorporated in 1888, disincorporated on July 24, 1896 and incorporated for a second time on December 13, 1897. In 1907 a new City Charter was written, which created the position of City Auditor to be elected “by the qualified electors of the city.” The early City leaders understood that the “watchdog” of City money must be independent, so they established the City Auditor as an elected position instead of appointed. To this day, the City Auditor still reports directly to the people of Long Beach, rather than to a City Council or City Manager.

 

In 1908 the first City Auditor, Ira S. Hatch, assumed office. The office term was two years, and the annual salary for the position was set at $1,000. Hatch served as City Auditor for two terms until 1912. He then ran for Mayor and was elected. He later represented Long Beach in the California Assembly.

 

Lewis W. Shuman was elected City Auditor in 1912 and resigned soon after in 1913. His Chief Deputy City Auditor, D. M. Rankin, was appointed City Auditor and then ran in the election of 1913 but lost to Harvey Durkee. Two years later, former City Auditor Shuman ran again for City Auditor but lost to Charles O. Boynton.

 

Boynton had been an elected City Clerk and ex-officio assessor before his election to City Auditor in 1915. That year he hired Myrtelle L. Gunsul to be Chief Deputy City Auditor — she succeeded him after his retirement.

 

Myrtelle L. Gunsul, Long Beach’s first woman elected to office, was elected City Auditor in 1919, after serving 4 years as Chief Deputy City Auditor. She was re-elected ten times and retired in 1951 after serving 32 years as City Auditor. Miss Gunsul (as she was called then) holds the distinction of being the longest serving elected official in Long Beach.

 

1951 – 1976

Upon her retirement, Miss Gunsul highly recommended that her Chief Deputy, Freeman I. Castle, be appointed to serve out her term. Instead, the City Council voted to appoint a city division manager, John R. Mansell.

 

Mansell was drafted by the City Council partially because they wanted a City Auditor who would not seek election for the seat in the upcoming primary. However, Mansell did run for the office and won — this time with Miss Gunsul’s endorsement. He served 10 years as City Auditor and was then appointed City Manager of Long Beach, a position he held for the next 15 years.

 

Murray T. Courson served as City Auditor from 1961 until 1976. When Courson retired mid-term, the City Council conducted a search for a new City Auditor and appointed Robert E. Fronke from a field of 6 candidates in June 1976.

 

Fronke was the only City Auditor to be appointed from outside of Long Beach City government, and he served as the 8th City Auditor for 16 years, from 1976 – 1992. Fronke was a strong defender of the independence of the Office. In 1979 a Charter Revision Advisory Committee recommended a change in City charter language to limit the City Auditor to financial audits and prohibit operational (performance) audits unless specifically requested by the City Council. The City Council unanimously voted against such a change in the charter agreeing with Fronke that independent, operational or performance audits improved the efficiency and effectiveness of local government. Fronke resigned in October of 1992 to take a faculty position at Pepperdine University School of Business and Management.

 

1992 – 2006

Upon Fronke’s recommendation to the City Council, Assistant City Auditor Gary Burroughs was appointed to serve out the two years remaining on Fronke’s four-year term. Burroughs had been Fronke’s Assistant City Auditor since 1986. Burroughs was elected in 1994 and served as City Auditor for the following twelve years for a total of fourteen years as City Auditor.

 

2006 – Present

Laura L. Doud began her term of office in July 2006 becoming the 10th elected City Auditor.