Despite some tension in previous meetings, Treasurer Phil Benson sat quietly Tuesday as the Mobile County Commission stripped his office of its exclusive oversight of the county’s investments.
As Lagniappe reported, the commission proposed rescinding a 2006 investment policy that delegated the management county investments to the treasurer’s office earlier this month. As treasurer, Benson is elected by the people and is not an employee of the Commission.
With Tuesday’s vote, the county replaced the old policy with one that shifts the management responsibility to an “investment team.” That team includes Benson, the county administrator, its finance director and another investment manager that works the treasurer’s office.
The old policy required similar meetings between an “investment team” but the county appears to have never followed that policy. When the idea first came up during an April 4 conference meeting, Benson raised some concerns about why the shift was necessary now.
Benson did not address the Commission during Tuesday’s meeting, where the vote passed without much fanfare. Commissioner Jerry Carl, who expressed similar concerns about the suddenness of the change, voted against the rescinding the old policy and adopting the new one.
However, the vote carried with support from Commission President Connie and Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, neither of whom addressed their votes during this week’s meeting.
Hudson has been outspoken about her concerns with a lack of information on the county’s active investments. She said tasking the four-member committee with managing the county’s investments would provide “additional oversight” to the process.
According to Mobile County Finance Director Dana Foster-Allen, Mobile County’s investments totaled $256.9 million as of Feb. 28. Typically, that money is invested in stable, low-risk options such as money market funds and CDs sold by banks and other financial institutions.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).