Monday, December 9, 2013
An Open Letter
From 1972 when I moved to West Bloomfield, until 2008 when I left public office, the Township had exactly two Deputy Treasurers. One of those women served five different Treasurers before retiring. Since 2008, just 5 short years, we have had five. That in itself tells me a lot about the current state of our local Treasurer's office.
In office for only two short months in 2009, this current Treasurer went to the Board to change the investment policy, even implying that I had not followed it.
As background, I drafted the revised language for P.A. 20 (Michigan Investment Act) in 1996. I added the language requiring written policies and subsequent governing body adoption. I sat on the GFOA committee that drafted the language for the sample policy on which the Township 2005 investment policy was based and I sat on the state MCGAA that drafted sample policy language.
What did the current Treasurer do in her proposed changes? She lined out the GASB 40 requirements. Gone were detailed investment reports. Gone was weighted average yield. She wanted to be more flexible but totally disregarded good investment parameters. And to my amazement she added an investment called 'Electronic Transfer Funds'. What are those exactly?
I have yet to see a meaningful investment report. It is verbiage copied from monthly commentaries by investment firms and computer printouts that tell me nothing of use. And even the information on the printouts is incorrect with interest rates reported in the stratosphere. Seems that they are not even proof-read.
Madam Treasurer, when you decided to make three illegal investments you called NO ONE. It was the Township Clerk who contacted me for advice. I, in turn, contacted the Department of Treasury who told me the investments were considered CMOs and were not authorized. This was confirmed by another broker.
How long do we continue to pay your salary and hope that you do not send our tax dollars to an investment in Nigeria? And lest anyone think I am being facetious or ridiculous, the reason we have required quarterly investment reports is because a former county treasurer sent money to Nigeria in 2007. Furthermore, there were several Treasurers who participated in a Ponzi scheme, the perpetrator of which is now in a Federal prison.
You have been quick to blame the Clerk for your troubles. Yet, you are the Treasurer of the Building Authority. So why was it that the Clerk was handling the refinancing of the Library Building Authority Bonds? The Clerk has no role whatsoever in the authority. She was doing your job.
You also blamed her for not filing arbitrage documents with the IRS. But that is not her job. You are making the investments. You should be keeping records of your earnings. You are issuing all the payments from the bond proceeds. You have all the information to do the reports. Where are your spreadsheets? Arbitrage calculations were performed by me in the past. What makes you so special?
I felt that you violated the ethics policy by going off on junkets to Rhode Island and California. Whether you are on the pension board or the chamber of commerce, you are representing West Bloomfield in your capacity as Treasurer and are therefore bound by the policies set forth. And speaking of ethics, need I remind you that you claimed an endorsement from the County Treasurer when he had in fact endorsed your opponent in 2012?
You were cited in the audit for not performing rebate calculations for Special Assessment Districts. Do you not think it is important for residents to receive money that is due to them in a timely manner? Doesn't seem so.
You say you cannot do three jobs. Can you do one? I personally don't think so.
And now the biggie, NONFEASANCE IN OFFICE. Under what state statute did you close a township office and send employees of that township home? Crying? Really? Send them to the ladies room and tell them to put their big girl panties on and deal with it. I cannot imagine anything more upsetting and disquieting than Sept 11, 2001. Yet I and my staff stayed here all day and the days that followed and never dreamed of closing our office. You put the Clerk in the position of acting outside the scope of her authority to accommodate residents who were inconvenienced by you.
Please, for the good of the community, resign from office now. Save us the embarrassment of going to the governor or having to waste valuable resources on a recall. Enough is enough. No more excuses. No more blaming everyone else for your incompetence. It's time to go.