By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Green increases earnings tenfold during tenure

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Comments

fir tree

Thank you Mike Green for maximizing the tax dollars of Yamhill County through sound investment strategies! I find it fascinating that if you go back and listen to the audio recordings from the Lewis, George, Springer, Starrett, and Primozich days (Tschadbold too), all they did was give Mike a ration of negative political grandstanding. He must have been too good for them. Mike is a true public servant who certainly didn't serve for any personal gain on his part, he just knew how to maximize investments and truly obtain maximum return on the public investments. Now Primozich wants to take over and goof up all the great work that Mike did. I don't think so Stan.

SandyKnoll

Thank you Mike Green!

Oregonian

Great job Mr. Green. Some history helps understand this story.

The former county treasurer Nancy Reed and manager John Krawczyk were given the opportunity to make this change to the county's investment pool and declined. They argued that it wasn't even possible. The budget team at the time was Johnstone, Nelson and Vasquez. They presented the fact that the county could purchase eligible bonds that yielded over 7 per cent when the Oregon pool had dropped toward 4 per cent and was sliding lower. The commissioners held a meeting, received testimony and then Krawczyk killed it. Reed admitted she spent zero time managing the county funds in investments other than the standard Oregon pool and the budget committee quickly cut her pay and hours in half as a response. Green has a valid point in asking for the job to be full time and full pay. He has effectively turned it back into the job Reed should have performed. Had the treasurer embraced the change, the county would have received hundreds of thousands of additional interest for years and would have been in the enviable position of having an opportunity to sell the bonds for millions of dollars in unexpected gains due to an unexpected increase in value. (Interest rates continued to drop and the value of the bonds skyrocketed). By the time Green was elected, rates were low. He had much less opportunity to make a difference at that point.

The NR did an article on the meeting, but the archive doesn't go back far enough to retrieve it.

Oregonian

County investment policy
Jan 18, 2003

By DAVID BATES

Of the News-Register



Typically, citizens who complain to the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners are peeved about potholes on a far-flung country road.

Given that context, the concerns two citizens raised earlier this week were anything but typical.

But then, the citizens aren't typical. The issue was raised by county budget committee members Lee Vasquez, a retired sheriff, and Robert M. Johnstone, a McMinnville lawyer.

They are urging the board to modify its fiscal policies so Yamhill County can take advantage of long-term investment funds that yield a higher return - enough, they argue, to ease the financial crunch that virtually all government entities face these days.

At the board's informal work session this week, Vasquez reminded commissioners that he raised the issue nearly a year ago, though to no avail.

"There is a potential that we may be losing about $500,000," he said. "To me, that is a lot of money."

What Vasquez and Johnstone are talking about is cash the county has available at any given time for paying bills.

It's a mercurial amount of money. There is no line item for it in the budget, and the amount is always in flux.

To a large extent, the amount depends on the time of year. It is lowest in October and highest in November, surging as annual property tax bills are paid.

Every weekday, County Treasurer Nancy Reed deposits the county's cash in two interest-bearing accounts. One is an account with the state's Local Government Investment Pool, the other a money market account with U.S. Bank.

Officials note the county currently earns about 2 percent in those short-term funds.

Oregonian

Jay Finley, a McMinnville financial consultant, says it could be earning as much as 6 percent if it invested in longer-term funds. And that spurred the budget committee members to raise the issue.

There's a catch, however, that county officials are wary of. The alternative requires locking the money in over long periods, preventing the county from drawing on it without incurring a substantial penalty.

"Your money is then tied up for five years," said John Krawczyk, the county's chief financial officer. "We've got to sit down and look at what might be the worst-case scenario we might have if we're short on cash."

Krawczyk and commissioners praised Reed's conservative investment policy. They said she was doing an excellent job.

"If you look at what rates you can get on short-term money, she's doing about the best you can do," Krawczyk said.

After Vasquez, Johnstone and Finley made their appeal, Krawczyk noted that their prediction of several hundred thousand dollars more was, at a minimum, optimistic. The money would not come in all at once, and such a yield would require commitments the county wouldn't want to make.

"I don't think that was a fair figure to have out there," he said. "I don't think that's something we should consider even as a possibility."

The board took no action, but Krawczyk said he and board Chairman Leslie Lewis would probably review a long-standing policy limiting the county to short-term investments. That policy would need to be changed by a majority board vote before officials like Reed could legally even consider long-term investments as an option.

Oregonian

Found it. Sorry for the error.

Also, my memory was incorrect. Reed was indeed purchasing investments outside of the pool, but just a few CDs that earned a fraction of a percentage above the Oregon pool.

The higher rate could have been lock in for a period of 10 years. (And it was really above 7 per cent per year, not 6 as mentioned in the story).

Not to give this group a pass on this huge missed opportunity, but Oregon counties do have a history of misstep here. Several counties have gone to aggressive with this strategy, locked in too much money in longer term investments, needed the money and then had to sell the bonds at a loss. It was a fiasco. Fear of making an error and looking bad is what probably occurred here. Too bad.

fir tree

Thank you Oregonian! The additional history is enlightening and underscores the many years of impropriety in the leadership of the county. I find it amazing that even after Mike Green was able to get directly involved, he had to fight to implement sound fiscal policies and continue to buck against a majority of the board along with county administration. The county seems to have a pattern of punishing top performers while rewarding mediocre operators. Too many elected and appointed officials who are afraid of being outperformed instead of encouraging top service to the citizens. Green is a highly skilled and historically successful financial manager who succeeded in spite of the self-serving bunch who tried to stomp on him. Huffer says, “That’s really one of the primary functions, to really work on those investments". An amazing statement from someone who has also been an obstructionist. We need more Mike Green's working for the citizens.

David S. Wall

I sincerely "Thank" the "Oregonian" and "Fir Tree" for the collegial and informative historical discussion concerning the investment strategies and finally, the accomplishments and distinguished service of Mr. Green-Yamhill County Treasurer.

I also sincerely "Thank" Mr. Green for your tireless efforts to guard and care for the Yamhill County taxpayer's money.

Your outstanding "stewardship" of the public's money and trust despite having to "bite-your-lip" while in the presence of incompetent administrators and suffering invidious commentaries from Yamhill County Commissioners was unfortunate, inexcusable but, extremely educational.

Your service has redolently pointed out the severe structural problems in the "stewardship of investment strategies" arena. The current process of replacing you by "voting for a Treasurer" should be reconsidered.

Currently, the voters have two(2) candidates for the position of Treasurer.

In my opinion, neither candidate for Treasurer is your equal.

David S. Wall

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