Delaware lawmakers talk about Flowers as committee clears cash management bill

 (Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

(Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

The Delaware Senate Executive Committee today cleared a bill that clarifies the powers of the Cash Management Policy Board.

Sen. Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere) is the bill’s primary sponsor. She said Senate Bill 151 clarifies that the nine member board, not the state treasurer alone, makes the decisions on the state’s $2 billion cash investment portfolio, a practice the state has had in place for decades.

The board and State Treasurer Chip Flowers have clashed over who runs the state’s $2 billion cash investment portfolio.

Treasurer Flower’s said the “contentious” relationship between his office and the board stems from their disagreements over where to invest the state’s short-term cash flow.

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During the committee meeting, Flowers didn’t contest the bill and said he doesn’t want sole control of the portfolio. He instead suggested an amendment that he said would add more transparency to the 30-year-old board.

His amendment included setting term limits for committee members and banning board members from making political contributions.

He also said board members should have to disclose all financial holdings during their term on the board.  

“I feel very uncomfortable putting taxpayer money in bank when board members have investment interest in those banks,” said Flowers. “This is not a unique concept. I think this a basic rule that almost all other states have when you serve on these types of boards, you must disclose your holdings.”

While the board ultimately cleared the bill without an amendment, Sen. Blevins said Flower’s suggestions could be taken up with the Sunset Committee as they review the Cash Management Policy Board this year.

“I believe some of these things you’ve put forward will be part of the sunset committee and it will be done there,” said Blevins.

The senate will vote on the bill tomorrow.

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