“And finally, I wish to leave you as our motto these words: A GREATER LONG BEACH. Consider it. Work together for it, and success and prosperity will be ours.” Ira S. Hatch in Summary of 1909
Ira S. Hatch became the first City Auditor of Long Beach on January 6, 1908. He was elected in December 1907 under a new city charter, which established the position of City Auditor elected by the voters.
As the first person to hold this office, he was responsible for creating systems and methods of accounting for the new Auditor’s Office as well as for all other City departments. To accomplish this, he relied on his previous business experience and professional affiliations with the National Association of Accounting and the Municipal League. According to Long Beach City historian Walter H. Case, City Auditor Hatch’s newly- devised system of record keeping “enabled the city to issue a monthly balance sheet, a thing that had been declared impossible.”
Hatch was born in Harmony, Maine in 1869. Before moving west to Long Beach with his wife, Iola, in 1905 he held various positions in farming, the railroads, and the mercantile trade. He was involved in real estate and mining just prior to his election in Long Beach.
Iola Hatch was a prominent Long Beach citizen in her own right. Active in numerous community activities, she held leadership positions in several civic organizations and was one of two founding members of The Long Beach Day Nursery. The Long Beach Day Nursery is the oldest, continuously-licensed, private social welfare agency in California and still serves the community today.
Hatch was re-elected for a second term as City Auditor in 1910 and then was elected Mayor of Long Beach in 1912. In 1922 he was admitted to the bar of California and practiced law until he was elected to the California Assembly representing Long Beach in the 50th session from 1932 to 1934.
Understanding his responsibilities to the citizens of Long Beach:
“I believe that each taxpayer is entitled to know what becomes of the money he pays into the City Treasury; and I have endeavored to keep the records of my office in such a manner that any taxpayer could determine what it costs to maintain any department of the city, should he desire to look into the books of this office, and I have compiled this report with that end in view.” Cover letter of September, 1909
Challenges of managing the finances of the fastest-growing U.S. city:
“I wish to call your special attention to the fact that during the year we have added over one and one-half times as many square miles of territory as we had in the city before, included in which are over 95 miles of streets, thus enlarging the duties of the various departments and increasing the necessary expense of the city.” Summary of 1910
Inspiring the citizens of a growing city:
“We are now becoming a financial, commercial and manufacturing center; and it is impossible for the human mind to predict the great things that are in store for us, if we will but work together for the best interests of all in the future as in the past.” Summary of 1911
History of Long Beach and Vicinity, Walter. H. Case Vol. II 1927
Annual Reports of the Auditor, 1909, 1910, 1911
Legislative Handbook, 1933 California State Archives
The Daily Telegram, various news reports
Long Beach Day Nursery