O'Fallon Progress

OFP 0913 City’s Investment control sparks debate

In order to receive the best price and services for the city, the O’Fallon City Council is considering amending its investment policy, effectively adding more people as a safeguard.

Because the city would be issuing Requests for Proposals for banking/financial services and for investing services soon on several projects, timing was important for passage. It was presented as an ordinance for first reading to the council Sept. 4.

Several aldermen thought the process was rushed through without proper discussion of the new details, though some said their reluctance to vote was not that they are opposed to the updates.

Those in favor of the changes said it would include rules and policies that would provide more transparency and guidelines on city investments.

The staff proposed that an Advisory Investment Committee review the requests for proposals and make recommendations to the council. That committee would be the treasurer, finance director, city administrator, finance committee chair and the mayor.

The contract following the RFP for investment services will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the council, so the policy would name the city council as the fiduciary authority for how the city’s money is invested.

Sandy Evans, the city’s finance director, currently manages the internal controls for investments and money management, so the policy formalizes the finance director’s role as the “Investment Officer” in consultation with the city treasurer.

Treasurer Dave Hursey has provided guidance and consultation on previous investments and would continue in that role.

The city council would receive quarterly reports at the Finance and Administration Committee meeting and could approve changes to the investment policy as recommended by the city treasurer and director of finance.

City Administrator Walter Denton said the treasurer has always been involved in the investment procedure, and that would not change. He said there was a window of opportunity, which is why passage was necessary by a certain time. One of the ideas was to see if companies would be more inclined to make better deals in light of a review from a bigger group.

After a lengthy discussion before a vote was taken to advance it to the Sept. 17 meeting for passage, a special meeting was suggested so they had time for further debate. It was only after that reassurance that Alderman Matthew Gilreath withdrew his motion to hold off on the vote and return it to committee.

Then the council advanced it for council approval on second reading Sept. 17 to ensure it could meet the time table if passed.

The council’s Finance and Administration Committee was expected to discuss the policy at a special meeting Sept. 10. Alderman Robert Kueker is the chairman and Mark Morton is the vice chair.

Kueker said he was against tabling the vote, and that the committee had come to an educated decision.

Alderman David Cozad said he wanted “to learn a little bit more.”

Alderman Matt Smallheer agreed. “It would be good. It would be interesting to see what we get out of it,” he said.

The council passed the first reading, 12-1, with Jerry Albrecht voting no and Kevin Hagarty abstaining, at the Sept. 4 meeting. Matt Gilreath voted present.

The Finance and Administration Committee unanimously recommended the changes