GREEN Legislation proposed by several members of Green City Council would allow for members of council to be notified when the transfer of funds from one financial institution to a new financial institution takes place.
The legislation comes following the April 9 City Council meeting where Councilman Matthew Shaughnessy raised concerns about the movement of a $20 million investment to UBS Group since Councilman Chris Humphrey works for UBS.
The proposed legislation by Humphrey, Councilman Rocco Yeargin and Councilwoman Barbara Babbitt would allow the director of finance to notify Green City Council within three business days of the transfer of all future city accounts from current financial institutions to any new financial institutions.
What triggered the investment transfer to USB was due to the city having money on deposit with an advisor at Morgan Stanley who moved his practice to UBS in October. Finance Director Steven Schmidt followed the investment policy, which gives him the authority to move the money without approval from council or the mayor.
Shaughnessy raised several concerns about the legislation, including the fact council is notified after the transfer occurs under the proposed legislation. He also said he has requested a signed contract between the city and UBS and hasn’t received one.
Humphrey said this legislation isn’t complicated and said it is very straight forward. He said he would be in favor of notification prior to the money being moved if that is what others on council would prefer.
The transfer was on page five of the October Financial Statement Report given to members of City Council. Humphrey said the reports can be more than 100 pages long and he doesn’t review every single item.
Councilman Steven Dyer said he wants to see the notification be prior to the money being moved.
Babbitt said she doesn't like members of council cross-examining the city directors and making council feel like a courtroom during meetings.
“At the end of the day, nothing illegal was done,” Babbitt said.
Councilman Justin Speight said he likes the idea of council voting on the transfer when one occurs. He said the vote could take place on first reading so it doesn’t hold up the process.
Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said Schmidt did come to his office when the transfer was about to happen, but said he couldn't recall if Schmidt mentioned anything about the money moving to UBS. Neugebauer, however, said Schmidt is always very thorough, "so he likely did."
Neugebauer went on and said he didn’t even make the connection between Humphrey and UBS.
“My colleague here, Mr. Humphrey, I didn’t have a recollection that he worked for UBS,” Neugebauer said.
He said he knew Humphrey was an investment advisor and an attorney when he started on council.
“I wasn’t aware of the connection so I guess in a way it put Mr. Humphrey in a bad light that he was affiliated with UBS,” Neugebauer said.
He also said he doesn’t think Schmidt made the connection either or he imagines Humphrey would have been notified.
Neugebauer said if having council be notified to stop "an embarrassing" situation, then it is probably a good thing for council to put in place.