Bernalillo County treasurer receives 'no confidence' vote" />
Updated: 11/04/2013 7:58 PM |
Created: 11/03/2013 8:01 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Manny Ortiz, the embattled Bernalillo County treasurer, just lost another battle. Commissioners unanimously voted “no confidence” in his ability to invest the county’s money.
Commissioners voiced concern about long-term investments Ortiz has made using roughly 90-percent of the county’s cash.
“We have programs and projects that we have to move forward, we have to pay our bills. The issue here is we have to have liquidity to do that,” Commissioner Debbie O’Malley said.
She and the other commissioners said the county would pay penalties if it were to take money away from those long-term investments.
The commissioners also expressed concern about Ortiz’s absence at Board of Finance meetings in the last several weeks.
Despite the criticism, Ortiz defended his actions and said the county’s bank account should have more than $200-million in cash by the end of the year.
Additionally, he said the treasurer’s investment committee recently voted to form an independent committee that would be entrusted to develop a new investment policy for the county.
“I assure you that I continue to act in the best interest of Bernalillo County,” Ortiz told the commission.
He also criticized the county for not providing him a cash flow analysis which he said he requested in February.
“Without these projections, the treasurer is blindsided by requests for unforeseen expenditures and planning is totally impossible,” Ortiz said.
His comments met applause from more than two dozen of his supporters many of whom work in the treasurer’s office.
Regardless of the support, county manager Tom Zdunek echoed the commission’s concerns. For instance, he said Ortiz committed to invest county money into shorter-term investments but ultimately did not.
“What we're trying to demonstrate to the treasurer is prompt action,” Zdunek said of the “no confidence” vote.
Commissioner O’Malley said the commission’s control over Ortiz is limited. She said the vote was merely symbolic.
Meanwhile, Bernalillo County resident George Richmond launched an effort to get Ortiz out of office through a recall effort. He attended Monday’s meeting and said he’ll soon file a court petition to get the process started.
“In any political business, you've got to work with other people, whether as a different party or not, or different opinions, you have to get results and you're not getting results -- you're getting problems here,” he said.
Like the commissioners, Richmond said he’s primarily concerned about the county’s lack of cash at hand.
“The valid point is—as the needs come up, you got to meet them,” he said.