Madison County’s investment advisor incorrectly alleged that treasurer Kurt Prenzler doesn’t take bids on all trades, Prenzler said on Sept. 8.
Prenzler said that a report from advisor Jeff Schroeder to county board chair Alan Dunstan contained errors because Schroeder prepared it without talking to him.
Prenzler said Schroeder has admitted county administrator Joe Parente told him not to contact the treasurer.
Parente said on Aug. 8 that he didn’t tell Schroeder not to contact Prenzler.
Schroeder declined to say whether he stood by his statement on bids.
“My only comment is that the report was preliminary,” Schroeder said. “It was not final by any means. It is still being prepared.”
Prenzler said Schroeder’s findings and conclusions were untrue and misleading.
Deputy treasurer Doug Hulme said that one conclusion that states, “Historically, the county has not solicited competitive bids/offers on every trade from three or more sources” is “a joke.”
“Since Kurt has been here we have always taken three or four bids and we can document that,” Hulme said. “That is laziness on their part. They didn’t even ask.”
Schroeder works in Chicago as a managing partner of PFM, an asset management firm in Philadelphia.
Dunstan hired PFM last year, after county board members rejected proposals to impose their oversight on Prenzler’s investments.
The contract called for recommendations on such intricate topics as liquidity forecasting, portfolio optimization, opportunity costs of strategies, performance measurement, and compliance with state law.
Yet the contract provided a mere $28,500, enough to keep a managing partner of a national firm on the job for a couple of weeks.
The contract cost so little that it didn’t require county board approval.
It gave PFM 90 days to finish a report, but 10 months have passed.
Hulme said that in August, Prenzler received email from Parente inviting him to a meeting with Schroeder on Sept. 1.
Hulme said Prenzler called Schroeder, who said he would review a third draft. Hulme further said that Prenzler hadn’t known that the first two drafts existed.
At the meeting with Schroeder, Hulme said, “I felt like I was getting a sales pitch for investment management services.”
“I’ve sat through sales pitches before and this one was familiar,” Hulme said.
He said Dunstan and Schroeder favor a longer average term of maturity, more corporate debt, and higher interest at banks outside of Madison County.
“In our conversations, that’s what they are leading to,” Hulme said.
Parente said he did not attend the meeting but he understood it was productive.
Dunstan issued a statement that Prenzler attacked an independent analysis before it was completed and presented to the finance committee.
He wrote that Prenzler refused to cooperate with the committee.
Dunstan further wrote that Republican county board members Bill Meyer, Jamie Goggin and Tom McRae intervened to get the treasurer to meet the consultant.
He wrote that, "Instead of cooperating and learning from the report, he has chosen otherwise."