General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: The Final Day, Night, & Day

Filed in Delaware by on June 30, 2013

We’re gonna have drama after all!  Democrats vs. fellow Democrat Chip Flowers.  I support the Democrats not named Chip Flowers, and so should you. Here’s why. Chip Flowers claims that he has the power to invest state money, money that goes to fund state pensions. He is the only treasurer in memory to make that claim. Other treasurers have recognized that the responsibility for making these determinations rests with the Cash Management Policy Board, of which the Treasurer is but one member.  Flowers wants to play cowboy in search of higher investment returns.  He’s even hired some guy to look at how to increase performance. He hasn’t hired anyone to warn him of imprudent risk. This is precisely the type of fiscal irresponsibility that left scores of public pension funds in shambles  throughout the country following the financial scandal. Delaware, which had invested its money prudently and conservatively, remained in strong fiscal condition, and so did state pensions. If Chip Flowers wants to gamble, let him do so at a racino or online or in the market with his own money. As a pensioner of the state, the last thing I want is for him to do is play the market with our money.

The proposed bill essentially does to Flowers what earlier legislation did to the Sheriff of Nuttingham–make clear that he can’t overstep his bounds and/or create new imaginary powers for himself.  For the sake of my fellow pensioners, I hope it passes. I also think it’s about time for D’s to look for someone a little more–grounded–to be State Treasurer. 

It’s possible that something even more dramatic could happen. Rumors are flying that the Markell Administration is considering legislation that would grandfather in the actions it has already taken to enable the Delaware City oil refinery to  run its proposed rail and barge operations. Were this to happen and to pass, it would render the current challenges to the operation moot.  I have not been able to confirm this, and it’s possible that no such action will happen. But a lot of people are talking about this. This would be an end-run around the Coastal Zone Act and an affront to the late Russ Peterson and anyone who supported Markell based on his solemn pledge to protect the Coastal Zone Act uber alles. Forewarned is forearmed.

Finally, we’ll see what kind of influence Beau Biden can wield with the General Assembly as he tries to rescue HB 88(Barbieri), which seeks to keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. Perhaps due to overconfidence, the AG didn’t put on a full-court press with senators, and, to the surprise of virtually everybody, the bill only got 6 yes votes in the Senate. All is not lost, however. AG Biden has made clear that he will be in Dover on Sunday, and that he will be working to get HB 88 through the Senate. Since several of the ‘no’ votes are in no way intransigent anti-gun regulation types, he simply has to satisfy their concerns about the bill. If I had to bet, I’d bet that he succeeds, and that HB 88 gets around 13 yes votes. However, I’m glad that I don’t have to bet.

Here is the Session Activity Report for Thursday. Four Senate Rethugs voted against funding state government for FY ’14.  The Bloviator, Da Pope,  the Green Grocer, and Pettyjohn. Which reminds me, we need a nickname for Pettyjohn. Now accepting nominations.

Time for the single Most Perplexing Vote Of the Year.  What would you think if I told you that one, and only one, legislator opposes giving the state the chance to recoup costs incurred in cleaning up environmental hazards from those who caused the mess in the first place. Such is the case with gun-range owner and Senator David Lawson, who was the lone no vote in the entire General Assembly on HB 95(Heffernan). Hmmm, you don’t think he’s worried about them coming after him for some sort of lead abatement issue concerning his range, do you?  He’s not up until 2016, but I officially predict that this is his final term.  Clip ‘n save.

SB 27(Sokola) passed the House, 30-10. Since it passed with a House Amendment, the bill went back to the Senate, where it received final passage, with only Sen. Townsend voting no. On this one, I part from several of my fellow progressives, but I still love them. Or, like them a lot.

For the record, here are the House and Senate agendas for today. Time for a tortured analogy. Yay!! If the General Assembly were a restaurant, these agendas would be the appetizers. Both houses will be working ‘must lists’, and lots of the meat will be there. The Grants-In-Aid bill will be introduced, considered, and passed in both houses today (or early tomorrow).  Consider it dessert.

Following the usual post-prandial niceties, look for the waitstaff to turn out the lights around…1:44 am, Monday, July 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJpJoYYGzjM

 

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  1. puck says:

    With all due respect to the great El Som, you got multiply owned on the Flowers issue last June, both on the blog and on the air. Back then, Flowers’s plan specifically excluded pensions. And it didn’t move any other money either; it just hired some guys for a second opinion in order to make recommendations. That’s what all the fuss was about.

    Now, I haven’t been tracking it since then. Has Flowers moved any money he wasn’t entitled to? Does he have some new plan to take control of pension funds? Maybe he does. I’m all ears. Please tell.

    You know Markell has gone off the deep end with this bully stuff. Don’t jump in with him.

  2. Flowers claims that he has oversight of the investments. He doesn’t.

    It is precisely the same scenario as the Sheriff of Nuttingham claiming powers that he doesn’t, and shouldn’t have. Christopher and Flowers are both elected functionaries, with exceedingly limited official authority. They have both chafed at those limits and sought to overstep that authority. That’s the problem.

    I know about the Cash Management Policy Board b/c they came under Sunset Review when I was the Research Analyst of the Joint Sunset Committee. I know how they operate, and I think I know how they SHOULD operate. They should not let a cowboy with itchy palms gamble with our money, which is why we have the bill.

    I went back and read where you claim I ‘was owned’ in a previous thread. What I saw was a bunch of Flowers acolytes spewing his line.

    It’s not as if I’ve been inherently antagonistic towards Flowers. I like to think that my exposing of the actions and inactions of his lazy opponent helped Chip get elected.

    And I’m surely no apologist for Jack. See practically anything I’ve written this year.

    But Flowers has to be stopped here, he must not be put in a position to place state funds at risk. While it’s unfortunate it has come to this, it is Flowers who has put the legislative leaders in this position. And I hope that they act.

  3. heragain says:

    One of the aspects that concerns me about this, ElSom, is the lack of transparency of the board. You know I wasn’t a fan of Chip’s grandiosities, coming in, but at this point I’m far more concerned with what may or may not be up with a committee of the Governor’s banking & business friends. And the timing of this REALLY bothers me. It has a strong feeling of payback to me, and a much smaller governance component.

    Did they postpone an attack on the only statewide elected Black until they’d gotten what they wanted from the trans bill? One wonders.

  4. puck says:

    I hate to ask this of El Som because his off-the-cuff claims are usually sound, but…

    Chip Flowers claims that he has the power to invest state money, money that goes to fund state pensions

    …. Link, please. Not much more to say unless you have some sort of evidence Flowers actually proposed that about pensions.

    Remember the link I previously pointed you to just quoted the law establishing that the Cash Management Board has nothing to do with pension funds. And that Flowers’s plan also has nothing to do with pension funds. No acolytism there, just straight facts, with quotes. Hell I STILL haven’t met Flowers.

    I’m open to the possibility that you have discovered some new Flowers plan about pension funds, so why not post the link?

    Everyone is entitled to their pet issues where they see red and cannot process facts logically. But “Flowers plans to gamble your pension” is a lie on a par with “It’s not a public body.” Do you really want to sign on to that lie?

    The truth is the old-boys network doesn’t want new blood exposing their profitable cronyism with independent reviews of their practices. That would be embarrassing to be fighting Flowers for that reason. So they concocted this strawman pension smear and are fighting that instead. And the Governor’s plan is working, thanks to media types flogging the smear.

    There are already plenty of controls and barriers to make sure Flowers never moves either the cash or the pensions money. What they are really fighting is the independent reviews. It is the same old Markellian secrecy you are defending.

    How do you know Flowers plans to gamble your pension money? Right – you heard it from the governor’s people. You didn’t hear it from Flowers. Doesn’t that give you pause? You’ve had over a year to check it out.

  5. SussexWatcher says:

    The cash management board has been around for, oh, ages. No past treasurers, even the idiot Janet Rzewnicki, claimed the authority and has gotten into as much controversy as Flowers has.

    Here’s what really is happening. Flowers wants more power, so he’s claiming a mandate for change – having snagged a mere 51 percent of the vote! – and has gotten into fight after fight with the state’s investment policymaking board – a system that, again, has proven itself over and over under both D and R administrations. That does not show the type of temperament and judgment that I want having more authority and power. This bill is a much-needed idea.

    What’s really needed, of course, is a constitutional amendment abolishing the treasurer office and folding it into the Department of Finance. Jack can’t do that politically, as it’d be an admission that his platform for the governorship was a do-nothing job. I hope Governor Denn has the balls to do something about it in 2017.

  6. puck says:

    Any plan that gives Flowers the ability to move money to his preferred investments is dead on arrival no matter how much he moves his mouth about it. The only thing they can’t stop Flowers from doing under current law is getting that toothless independent review. That is what they fear, and is the sole reason for the legislation. Once again with Markell, it’s all about secrecy and evading transparency.

  7. cassandra_m says:

    State Code is pretty clear that the Treasurer’s Office isn’t responsible for the pension funds oversight or operation. It is also pretty clear that the Cash Management Policy Board is responsible for cash management policy and oversight, and the Treasurer basically enforces the policies established.

    SB 151 is the bill that provides the clarification of duties. This would be much better if the exemption from the Administrative portions was specific to the public notice and comment portion, since that is the only portion that would get in the way of timely investment decisions.

  8. cassandra_m says:

    And I don’t see anything in SB 151 that forbids the Treasurer from doing his toothless independent review. Why should it? The one that he did pretty much said that if the State would be open to a bit more risk, it could make a bit more money. Duh.

  9. puck says:

    And I don’t see anything in SB 151 that forbids the Treasurer from doing his toothless independent review.

    That may be; I haven’t read it. Like I said, I wasn’t tracking the issue this year. Last year though the Governor’s proposed language did take away the independent review, so I assumed this did too.

    In that case, then what’s the problem with passing a bill that simply reiterates existing law for the most part? I mean, other than the foolishness of the elected officials who waste their time with it, as if it were some important reform. I guess their banker patrons are demanding it.

  10. cassandra_m says:

    It would take all of 5 seconds to read the planned change to the bill.

    And since Chip wants to be both the policy-maker AND the enforcement authority here, this couple of sentences makes it pretty plain what the span of authority of the Cash Management Policy Board is.

  11. mediawatch says:

    The key issue here is one of transparency in government. The administration’s effort to shield the CMPB from the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act cannot be solely because, as the synopsis claims, “decisions need to be made in a timely manner as a result of changing market conditions.”
    Think about it: when in the 30-year history of the CMPB (which meets only twice a year) has there ever been a need for such urgent decision-making? If the need for secrecy hasn’t existed before, why now?
    Could it be that the current treasurer is more committed to openness in government than those who have held the position in the past? Could it be that the authors of this legislation do not want the public to have the opportunity to see and understand the operations of the CMPB?

    Puck, Cass and others who have already commented on this thread have given the lie to El Som’s assertions with regard to management of the state pension funds. That egregious error should prompt other readers to question the truthfulness of all of El Som’s claims with regard to SB151.

  12. Portia says:

    First, let’s clear this up for the record, the Treasury DOES NOT INVEST pension funds. That falls under the Executive branch of government, Markell, and that Board is subject to the APA Title 29; CH. 101. Since the pension money belongs to state employees and not the state, it clearly shows that the top officials and those that sit on the pension board, have a vested interest in how and who invests their funds. I guess they’re less concerned with the oversight of taxpayer funds.

    SB 151 seeks the Board to define “open and competitive” and bypass the state procurement laws, Title 29, CH. 69. That’s the complete opposite of transparency. Does everyone realize, with the exception of the Controller General and the State Treasurer, are appointed by Markell? Why would we tolerate appointed persons to define “open and competitive” as well as the allocations of the Treasury? Remember, persons in the private industry do not know or understand the cash flows/revenues of state government. The co-chair of the Cash Management Board, David Marvin , owns Marvin and Palmer, a private Maryland Investment firm. He also wrote the Board guidelines 38 yrs. ago and without term limits has been sitting idly on the Board. FYI, Dave Marvin (a true Rethug) and family have contributed over $50,000 to Markell’s PAC. The chair of the Cash Management Board, John Flynn, resides in Colorado and has been on the Board as long as his friend Marvin.

    The only Elected Official on this Board is the State Treasurer. He’s the only one on the ballot and accountable to the people of the state. He is by law required to protect taxpayer funds and he’s the only one accountable on this Board. That is crazy!!!

    It’s quite concerning that Blevins and Schwartzkopf are being used by Markell to jam this legislation through and filed late Thursday night. It’s cowardly of them and frankly, I have lost respect for them. They should realize that Markell and his administration drive legislation through the General Assembly as they desire with few execptions. There’s no progressive, think tanks in the Legislature to come up with legislation that is innovative. Quite sad.

    I support Treasurer Flowers on his concerns as others should as well. Even if it was another Treasurer, I would support them on this issue as well. I understand people might be threatened by Flower’s intelligence, approach, IVY league education and his quest for change but he stands up for the people. I think it’s admirable that we have someone strong enough to fight on our behalf.

  13. Portia says:

    The truth is the old-boys network doesn’t want new blood exposing their profitable cronyism with independent reviews of their practices. That would be embarrassing to be fighting Flowers for that reason.

    I agree with Puck!! The good old boys want their preferred investment firms to invest the funds. By allowing this bill to pass, the Board can continue to make backroom deals at the taxpayers expense. Folks, do you all realize that investment firms get paid based on assets under management? Therefore, the larger the allocation an investment firm manages, the larger the fee they get paid. I wonder if Marvin has a backroom deal with some of these investment firms. Possibly, I’ll increase your allocation and you push Marvin and Palmer funds. Wake up taxpayers!!! Call your Senators who convene at 6pm. Your Representatives convened at 5pm.

  14. yeesh. glad there is some common sense being laid out here and not just the HIGH DEM propaganda. Way to ignore the flaws in SB 151, DL.

    A couple of good posts on other blogs that help clarify – this in particular
    http://delawarelibertarian.blogspot.com/2013/06/will-general-assembly-actually.html

  15. cassandra_m says:

    The Office of the Treasurer has specific duties and they are pretty well enumerated here, in the State Code.

    Anyone trying to argue that the office have more power than this needs to link to the code that supports that or STFU. I’ve made this point more than once — there are few executives who don’t redefine the lane they drive in. But going to war against the Cash Management Policy Board when they have a pretty clear say in how the money gets managed was probably the dumbest way possible to redefine that lane. And sending out your minions to make your argument for you — that somehow the fact that you are “elected” privileges you in some way to disregard the Code is pretty close behind in the dumbest list here. Sheesh.

  16. Portia says:

    Oh Cassandra, your missing the point. Flowers is not trying to redefine the Code but the Board is by exempting themselves from the APA laws. That’s Title 29; Ch. 101. No offense, but who’s the minion for Markell. You obviously have no true understanding of the state procurement laws, Title 29; Ch. 69, that require state agencies when issuing RFPs that pay fees to outside firms/contractors/vendors over a certain dollar amount is “open and competitive”. You can also visit the state procurement website. That’s the fair and equitable approach to handing out contracts when dealing with taxpayer funds. From what I understand, Flowers has begged the General Assembly to require this Board to follow the APA guidelines. I hear an AG’s opinion has been issued asking the Board to follow the APA. The Board feels they’re exempt from the Code not Flowers. Stick to the facts!

  17. Portia says:

    Cassandra, what’s most concerning to me on Delaware Liberal is that liberals stand for open government and transparency. I’m getting the sense you might want to blog for another site because your writing like a true Markell republican disguised as a liberal. Liberal and dems believe that everyone gets a fair chance to compete for state contracts on a fair playing ground. Not done in secret or exempted from public comment. Or as we like to say here, the Delaware Way.
    Do you realize that holding the Board to the APA guidelines, which I’m sure are all state boards are required to follow, requires that any changes to the guidelines are subject for review? This prevents backroom deals! This is precisely why Flowers is standing up for the taxpayers. The ones that elected him in office. I have heard he does like a Board for the oversight but rather just wants it to be subject to the APA guidelines for transparency.

  18. cassandra_m says:

    And here we go. Dancing around the main issue, this time using state procurement code. So where where you when we were screaming about the State Insurance Commissioner using the State Procurement Process to hire her campaign contributors? There were RFPs and those RFPs weren’t required to be public. If the State itself isn’t following APA guidelines then why should the Board?

    And where is the legislation he wrote to get the Board to use APA guidelines?

    Don’t lecture me about what a liberal is, either. That’s just you dancing away from the questions. Either answer them or go away.

  19. Portia says:

    I’m learning that you can argue with ignorance. Title 29: Ch. 101, Subchapter VII, requires the Insurance Commissioner (listed specifically) is subject to APA as well as the State Procurement laws Title 29: Ch. 69. They are some exceptions noted such as sole source, etc. but clearly your not familiar with the Code. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the Insurance Commissioner’s RFP process and wouldn’t want to make an inaccurate statement (I’m assuming this could pertain to the captive program) but I do know every state agency must get approval to issue a RFP from the state procurement office. They review everything before it’s issued again as required by law.
    I’m not lecturing you about being a liberal just questioning the obvious. You must have some real anger towards Flowers. Not sure why and really don’t care. I’m sticking to facts and not getting personal with my response.
    You suggest I “go away”?? I suppose I can start my own blog or even write for this one. Not everyone has to agree with me. Blogging is used to express an opinion. Just because I may be more intelligent, sophisticated and factual than you, doesn’t give you the right to try to bully me or act like a mean girl. Your bullying me just like Markell is doing to Flowers. Who’s the minion Cassandra?? Enough said.

  20. Portia says:

    Cassandra, you don’t need to be the only Queen on this blog. Please don’t feel threatened by a smart woman. Or does this mean if I don’t agree with you, I’ll be blocked??

  21. cassandra m says:

    Just because I may be more intelligent, sophisticated and factual than you, doesn’t give you the right to try to bully me or act like a mean girl.

    And just because you can’t hold up your end here doesn’t mean that you are being bullied. But one day you’ll be intelligent, sophisticated and factual enough to actually get that.

  22. I have no anger towards Flowers. Just want him doing his job as a functionary, not trying to expand the scope of his limited powers.

  23. Nancy Willing says:

    I saw some NAACP members in the lobby who said Blevins has pulled SB 151. Richard Smith handed me a two page letter to Governor Markell which primarily stated concern with the way the bill was being snuck in at the last minute.

    1) Supposedly this bill was expected to be filed in January of 2013 (DE State News June 12, 2012) which would have left ample time for public review. So why sneak it in now?

    2) Also troubling was SB 151 giving ‘considerable’ authority to the twice annually meeting Governor appointed CMB which will not have to publicly report their actions before putting them in place.

  24. kavips says:

    if I remember from last summer, the return on these investments was under 1% and Chip was pushing to be more aggressive. It is easy to be more aggressive and still be safe if one is garnering 1%.

    With the data that came out today, one sees why. The bulk of the pension money is going to one board member who is paying us a 1% return and investing it in higher risk investments and keeping the difference for himself.

    He “owns” quite a few Democrats, and some Republicans, and therefore, of course this bill was put up at the last minute and appears to have support.

  25. PBaumbach says:

    Sen Townsends education bills, SB 147 & 148 easily pass the House

  26. Good news Paul! Good work. I had left the House balcony shortly before 1AM for home because it seemed as if there was no end in sight with so many unfinished lists in hand.

  27. SussexWatcher says:

    Kavips: What data, and which board member? Does a member of the CMPB control state investment funds in his private sector job? Forgive me if I’ve missed something.

  28. The backroom chatter rumor-mongering is that Mr. Marvin is indeed the conflicted CMPB member whose interests are divided and whose private sector job is benefiting from his seat on the board. But I don’t have the story on any concrete terms at this point. If we had an investigative interest on the News Journal, perhaps they could take up the task to verify one way or the other.

  29. Norinda says:

    I agree with Nancy, Portia and Kavips-more investigative interest in the Cash Management Board make-up and any Conflicts of Interest needs to be exposed. I can not confirm but the state’s pension fund is not fully vested-80%. Maybe another reason Markell and Levin wanted to outsource state workers jobs at the Port of Wilmington and switch them over to a 401K with a private company. I would bank on an Ivy League-Wharton School of Business graduate to have some critical concerns about this board make-up and potential kick backs (front and back end) from these investment funds. Who are they???

  30. kavips says:

    Norinda. here is the info…. http://treasury.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/CMPB-Investment-Guidelines-for-web-as-of-Mar-2012.pdf

    The fund is designed to be safe and secure… It has strict limits preventing speculation with funds.

    Of interest is the Delaware Banking provision. “The Cash Account, and only the Cash Account, may also be invested in Certificates of Deposit, Time Deposits, and Bankers Acceptances issued by or endorsed by any bank or savings association domiciled in the State of Delaware and organized and supervised under federal or State of Delaware banking laws”… Which puts a lot of money into Delaware Banks.

    Of course if we are going to give someone money to make money off of…. it is probably best to do that to someone in Delaware, instead of Bearn Switzerland… where through jobs, local investments, and etc’s… as a state we get some residual benefit.

    It is just eye opening that the pressure to discredit Mr. Secretary of Treasure Chip Flowers, who by the way, BEAT the opponent supported by Markell and the Markell PAC to which Mr. David Marvin contributed $20,000 … is being pushed by those who are also recipients of Mr Marvin’s money.

  31. cassandra_m says:

    So I guess that since both kavips and Norinda are supporting the Treasurer, they can get away with the bogus threats to pension funds that isn’t even an issue here?

    :roll:

  32. puck says:

    The light has now been turned on over the Wilmington Trust cronyism so even El Som can see it, and the shameless cockroaches aren’t even running.

    Jonathan Starkey hits all the right notes on a Dave Marvin email obtained by the News Journal. “Civilan oveseers?” I am surprised he didn’t also call him “boy.”

  33. Well, that’s ONE way to look at it.

    Another way would be to point out that Flowers promised to be reasonable in order to get the legislation postponed, got the legislation postponed, and then launched a full frontal attack once the lights had been turned out.

    I’m not defending cronyism in Delaware. But guys like Flowers are determined to promote themselves despite no apparent qualifications to serve in office. The state treasurer’s office is essentially a state row office. Flowers wants it to be something more than that. It’s not. Attempts to paint this guy as some sort of beacon for honesty in government ring real hollow with me. Just another ambitious, self-promoting, ego in a suit.

    Chip Flowers is the D’s answer to the Sheriff of Nuttingham.

  34. puck says:

    We get that you don’t like Flowers. Myself, I’m neutral about whether I’d vote for him for a higher office; in fact I am not even thinking that far ahead. But the point is, he appears to be RIGHT about Wilmington Trust and his call for resignations.

    Don’t underestimate his political chops though. There is a lot of mileage to be had in taking on the Establishment banks and an increasingly arrogant Governor.

    In fact, taking on the banks and their corrupt practices is exactly what I expect Democrats to do, but rarely see.

  35. kavips says:

    First, whoever pulled the legislation admonishing Flowers in the wee hours of the evening, turned out to be a political genius. I haven’t asked for the details yet, but someone looked at all the pieces amid the hoopla, and said “this is bullshit,.. not doing it”. I’m guessing it might have been Blevins herself, which if so, boosts her “cred” big time for not kowtowing to Markell.

    Second, ignoring whatever details underly the surface, (what did what and who did whom), this has all the “appearances” of a corrupt administration intent on doing what it wants, public be damned. This first half-year, the Markell team has bumbled by giving a free gift to all opponents (on it’s right and left) supporting such accusations of acting in the public’s worst interest, whether or not they are unfounded.

    Third, the democratic party is furthering the divisions started with Gordan’s run last summer. The Wilmington and labor alignment over those moderate centrists, developers, and ex-Republicans spread thin elsewhere. Although we have a solid Democratic majority when this state votes, there are only about 45,000 swing votes up in air that make it so. The initial gut reaction of many of those reading the Starkey piece, may cause a good portion of those to give up on the current Democrats and begin looking elsewhere, to either new candidates within or outside the party..

    Fourth. Historically the first year in a four year term is when one rewards the supporters who financed one’s way in. It’s three years forward to the next election so masses of voters won’t remember or care what happens now; yet it is very recent memory to those loyal supporters who coughed up their share; calming their nervousness now will prevent internal meltdowns later when the scrutiny is more intense. The financial sector of Delaware fared well this legislative term, and this Flower’s episode is just one more card in the dealer’s hand, proving it so. That said, it is time now we need to see a pivot from the Markell administration and his “team” of Democrats in general, towards those problems still affecting most of the public, ones primarily caused by the greed of those very same supporters who fund most elections.

  36. cassandra_m says:

    Why would he be right about Wilmington Trust? WT (actually, M&T Bank) is one of the firms that won a supposed “historic” rebid of investment managers and won that rebid with Flowers claiming to run the selection process. It is tough to see cronyism in a Board decision which directs that all 5 of these selectees get about the same slice of the money pie. WT wasn’t privileged in either selection as an investment manager or in allocation of funds.

    And isn’t it interesting that Starkey’s article insisted on calling what is now M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust. I suppose it is easier to gin up the controversy over a bank that has had legendary issues (but is functionally no more), than the bank that bought them and is legendarily alot different than WT. Everyone gets that Flowers doesn’t want any oversight at the Treasury — too bad for him that Delaware law gives him a box that he can work with in and the Cash Management Board sets the direction of part of that box.

    Going to war over the Cash Management Board at this point pretty much plays to the folks who think that an independently elected position doesn’t have much accountability or even statutory limits to the job that they can do. If you want a bigger statutory box, you go to the legislature to get it. Just claiming you have authority you clearly don’t — by any reading of the statute — does indeed make you into the Sheriff of Nuttingham.

  37. geezer says:

    Not all of Wilmington Trust is now called M&T. The trust division retained the old name.

    Note that the higher rate of return that the Treasurer (not Secretary of anything) seeks would earn the state something like $2 million to $3 million in income per year. This is more about self-promotion than it is about stopping crony capitalism.

    Per Kavips, it’s also an attempt to soil the Democrats currently in line for governor. Look for these attacks on Markell to be transferred to Matt Denn in time for the 2016 Democratic primary.

  38. puck says:

    Look for these attacks on Markell to be transferred to Matt Denn

    That is up to Matt Denn. Currently he is not involved in any way that I am aware of. All he has to do is stay that way.

    Anyway, it’s not as if Markell didn’t benefit from Carney’s (incorrectly) perceived entanglement with Minner.

    something like $2 million to $3 million in income per year

    How many Delaware families’ taxes does it take to pay $2-3 million? That would make a nice down payment on restoring the education cuts.

    I don’t care if Flowers is self-promoting or not. Like Markell isn’t? I’ll take my opinion of his character into the voting booth with me, but he is still right to point out where the money is going and call for an end to the conflict of interest.

    What we have here is a simple financial scandal based on an incestuous board relationship, and here you are going after the messenger.

  39. Geezer is right about ‘Wilmington Trust’ existing as an entity within M&T Bank – no idea if it was used properly in the article, though. His view that this is a one way soiling aren’t held by most people. Those I talk to say this whole drama is MARKELL soiling Chip to make sure his pals are ensured their “self-entitled” seats.

    And Blevins didn’t stop SB 151 in its tracks, my fanciful friend, Kavips. It was Chip Flowers reading the LOT bill’s last-minute filing and getting on the phone that essentially did the trick.

    There was an army of people standing for Chip in leg hall Sunday night (or at least the individuals who showed up represented an army of people). These were the same people who stepped on the toes of the administration’s plans for a 50 year Port of Wilmington lease to Kinder Morgan.

    People DEM leadership could hardly ignore.

    And from what I’ve heard, Blevins was somewhat beside herself Sunday night when she realized she had to lay this down.

    I think all concerned are trying to make as nice as reasonable, considering.

    El Som may be reminded that It was Starkey who bumped this story to the next level by FOIAing the May 28th emails.

    This article wasn’t, as characterized above, Chip Flowers “promising to be reasonable in order to get the legislation postponed, got the legislation postponed, and then launched a full frontal attack once the lights had been turned out.”

    Starkey was walking around leg hall asking questions on Sunday night and what he heard was worth following up. GREAT STORY DUDE!!

    Ask Chip for yourself when he’s on with Norman Oliver next Sunday open phone lines Comcast 28 9PM. Chip ought to get on WDEL with Rick Jensen this week too and get the word out. There seem to be a lot of facts underlying his position. I would like to hear more. Whereas DL wants it all to be political – one-way, their way.

  40. geezer says:

    “That is up to Matt Denn. Currently he is not involved in any way that I am aware of. All he has to do is stay that way.”

    I will outsource the calling of bullshit on that contention to Rep. John Carney.

    “Anyway, it’s not as if Markell didn’t benefit from Carney’s (incorrectly) perceived entanglement with Minner.”

    So now you understand where my contention comes from, and you agree with its use in the past. One thing you should understand about ambitious politicians — they don’t have time to work out new tactics for themselves; they’ve too busy envisaging themselves in their next, higher office. So they tend to stick with tactics that have proved effective, the more recently the better.

    You know what I notice about all of us on Delaware’s political blogs? We always take criticism of a politician as support for his/her opponent. This is not intended in that spirit, but I will simply observe that Chip’s point is valid, and he’s playing a good hand with the same aggressiveness he played his poor ones.

    My comment about 2016 was simply a note to realize that Jack Markell is no longer a valid political target — he’s not running for anything anymore (sorry, El Som). So criticism of Markell isn’t aimed only at Markell, and it won’t be used only by Chip Flowers, who is more concerned with his own re-election at this point.

  41. geezer says:

    Nancy: Who said the soiling was one-way? I believe others on the thread quite competently stood up for Flowers, and still others stood up for Markell. I was stating things I had not seen addressed, not delivering a position paper.

  42. cassandra_m says:

    Wilmington Trust still is a division of M&T, and according to Chip’s own press release, M&T is the awarded financial manager. Still, it is difficult to see any conflict of interest when none of the Board Members works for M&T or Wilmington Trust or any of the other awarded investment managers. The scandal is that Flowers doesn’t have either the management skills or enough friends in the legislature to get the changes to his span of authority done the right way.

    And I sent off a round of emails to folks I knew ( a few involved in the Port thing) who were at Leg Hall last week, asking if they were there for Flowers. So far (and only one hasn’t responded) I’ve gotten a pretty robust round of LOLs back. They understood that there was a commitment to a compromise, which is looking pretty DOA at this point. Why call for the non ex-officio members of the Board to resign? The Governor gets to appoint all of those positions anyway.

    The only thing that I will point out about Matt Denn is that he certainly has more friends in Dover than Chip has, and certainly has a better reputation for competence. There’s a reason why he was asked to step in to lead a fix to the worker’s comp issue here, rather than leave it to the current IC who couldn’t.

  43. Here’s my take on Chip Flowers. First of all, I don’t dislike Chip Flowers. I know it’s a convenient meme and all, but it’s totally untrue. In fact, if anybody does even a minimum of research, they’ll find stuff that I wrote that I think helped him get elected. For example,

    here: http://www.delawareliberal.net/2010/10/28/the-mysterious-case-of-colin-boninis-vanishing-m-p-a/

    here: http://www.delawareliberal.net/2010/10/19/fiscal-watchdog-colin-bonini-owes-delaware-taxpayers-19105-and-92-cents/

    and here: http://www.delawareliberal.net/2010/10/19/colin-bonini-the-watchdog-who-doesnt-watch/

    So, that should put to rest any argument that I’ve had it in for Flowers, or have it in for Flowers. I even mentioned re Bonini that the treasurer is not part of a ‘fiscal watchdog team’.

    No, my issue with Flowers is that he’s trying to ascribe to himself powers that he does not have.

    Allow me to offer up an off-the-wall, but possible, political solution.

    If Flowers truly wants to shine the public disinfectant of sunshine on state government, why not run…for State Auditor?

    The fact that he is not politically popular with some of the insiders would be a badge of honor in running for that position. Hell, I could see myself supporting Chip there. It’s possible he could be just what the state needs, but its leaders don’t want.

    It’s a far more substantial and worthwhile goal than trying to give himself power he doesn’t have in a nothing-burger office.

    Submitted sincerely for your consideration…

  44. anonymous says:

    Why does the Board want to be exempt from the law requiring transparency and public input? Their stated reason is laughable since they meet only twice a year.

  45. Name me one entity, one, which openly strategizes in public meetings about investments they may make with public money.

  46. SussexWatcher says:

    A few observations:

    — If I understand correctly, the board wants to be exempt from the APA, which is about the adoption of regulations, not FOIA.

    — I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever that there is any “conflict of interest” for any member of the board. (Being a donor to the Governor’s campaign does not count.) If there is, please point me to it, Nancy and kavips.

    — Chip’s points about economic development policy clearly indicate this is the opening salvo of 2016. He apparently has forgotten that he needs to first win re-election in 2014. I imagine that will be rather more difficult than he imagines now. Look for a Democratic challenger – just not Velda, *please* – and a strong GOP battler.

    — The BS some of Chip’s people have spread about how he’s being targeted for being an uppity black man needs to stop. That’s just fucking pathetic. If your guy can’t take the heat, he should quit. Victimhood politics doesn’t play well in Delaware.

    — The fact that some of the CMPB members have been around since the creation suggests to me that they’re doing a pretty good job – and that they’ve been reappointed by governors of both parties. That makes me trust them far more than an elected treasurer.

    — If anyone on either side of this debate really thinks that this entire discussion will be an issue for voters two or four years from now, they are dumber than dirt. Voters do not give a crap. This *will* raise eyebrows of some people in Leg Hall who so far are not very impressed with Chip’s grandstanding antics.

  47. cassandra_m says:

    No, my issue with Flowers is that he’s trying to ascribe to himself powers that he does not have.

    Bingo. And maybe the current order needs to change. I don’t know that, and nor does anyone else. But Flowers seems to think that it does and he should be making that case to the people who can make that change, rather than just whinging about people transgressing his authoriteh.

    Chip’s points about economic development policy clearly indicate this is the opening salvo of 2016.

    His points about economic development policy remind people that he ran on making the economy better and no one has quite figured out how to remind people that the Treasurer has no role in economic development here. He may go to town on it, but there isn’t much that he has done that has manifested itself into any measurable improvement in the local economy. Except, perhaps, among the people he has gone to war with here.

  48. John Young says:

    El Som: U.S. Congress.

  49. puck says:

    No, this is the first salvo of 2014, in which he will be running against the Governor by proxy, who will be doing his best to unseat him. I’d say Flowers has fired a pretty good shot. I don’t think Markell understands this kind of politics and continues to create and nourish the voter resentments Flowers is responding to and leveraging. The tighter Markell’s grip, the more voters slip through his fingers.

    my issue with Flowers is that he’s trying to ascribe to himself powers that he does not have.

    So then he won’t have those powers. What is this, some kind of thoughtcrime?

    I am more concerned about Wilmington Trust lining up to whine their piece of the pie isn’t big enough – and getting an eager audience from the Governor.

  50. No, it’s not a ‘thought crime’, just the Treasurer seeking to give to himself powers that are not constitutionally his to have.

    Exactly the same thing that the Sheriff of Nuttingham did.

  51. heragain says:

    El Som. Town meeting.

    Here are the things that bother me.

    1)The late hour response to Chip’s stuff from the governor’s office.
    Chip RAN on a platform of doing all kinds of stuff the Treasurer’s office doesn’t do. We discussed it at the time. The meeting of the CMPB that went so badly south was in April. If they wanted to administer a smackdown, they should have put it up in February, latest. Bringing it in at the end of session looks like payback, and it bothers me.

    2) Overseers. I’ll repeat- OVERSEERS. Now we all know that the purpose of the board is to set policy for the Treasurers office. But tell me, with a straight face, that if the similar board in Alabama, or Texas, or Michigan, complained that the only statewide Black elected official wasn’t responding appropriately to his OVERSEERS that everyone here wouldn’t be ripping them a new one on Daily Kos. Defense of that is just backward.

    3)Who the hell IS on this board? I spent a little time on the net trying to find them. Celia Cohen has been writing pieces from their meetings for a while, apparently, so I got a couple of names from her. A wannabe realtor in Rehoboth boasts that on her page. A few of the members are statutory. But I’ve been unable to find the whole list, and very little on the ones I have found. The fact that they’ve been on it a while tells me not as much about their competence as the fact they show up in political donor lists… and switched from R candidates to Smilin’ Jack, the People’s Friend, when it turned out the R’s had no one to be governor. At this point, I’m VERY curious.

    4)Wilmington Trust. Really? As I understand it, the CMPB was created after we threw the state kitty down the gaping maw of Farmer’s Bank. But Wilmington Trust screwed the pooch and was eaten by M&T and that wasn’t a reason for anyone to say, “Hey, one thing The First State has aplenty is banks. Let’s reduce their share.” Oh, wait. That’s what got the CMPB on the Bat-phone to Markell.

    5)ONE percent. That’s what we were making. How risk averse do you have to be to drop it to ONE percent? I’m not a professional financial planner (and sadly, don’t play one on TV) but the only people I would expect a return like that from I’ve given birth to. Come on.

    Is Chip ambitious, contentious, and determined to exceed his authority? Probably. Is that, per se, a problem for me? Not at all. I expect successful politicians to be a trifle grandiose… the system selects for that. I LIKE that we have checks and balances to restrain them. Does our executive branch see themselves in that role? Not sure I agree there. The Governor should have stayed out of it.

    Is Chip right, in this case? I’m giving that more serous consideration than I expected to.

  52. First of all, is anybody gonna seriously make the argument that a buncha white guys got together and decided that Chip was being too ‘uppity’? That’s as specious as an argument gets these days, and is unworthy of you.

    Flowers is a member of the CMPB. He has as much ability to exert influence over the decisions as does any other member. That’s not enough for him. He seeks to substitute his judgment for the Board’s.

    His office is an administrative one, whether he likes it or not. He is trying to overstep his constitutional mandate. Which makes him just like the Sheriff of Nuttingham. He can’t, by his own fiat, change the functions of his office. He needs to get laws changed in order to do that, and he is within his right to try to do so. But he has no legal right to take powers contrary to state law. It’s that simple.

    People can try to ignore and obfuscate the basic essence of this argument all they want. I think it’s pretty clear that I carry no water for Jack Markell here. And I bear no animus towards Chip.

    And I’m serious about my proposal that Chip consider running for State Auditor. We need someone willing to challenge the Delaware Way, and he’d likely be the most viable guy to do so. But only if he stops acting in an extra-legal and out-of-control manner.

  53. RunCV79 says:

    Visit Chip’s website. A little reading of Chip’s “historic independent review” authored by Credit Suisse will show that Wilmington Trust was identified in that “independent” review as the State of DE’s top performing investment manager over every period of time they reviewed. Chip wants to add more yield to his portfolio but then cuts back money to his top performing manager? How does that make any sense?

    And all this coming from the guy who launched the “Delaware Money in Delaware Banks” initiative. WT is one of only 2 investment managers Chip hired in his “historic open process” that actually employs people in DE, and the only one who actually manages his money here.

    The guy is a walking, talking contradiction.

  54. geezer says:

    “4) Wilmington Trust. Really?”

    Yes, really. The trust operation is separate from the loans-to-downstate-developers fiasco.

  55. kavips says:

    The Cash Management Board is composed of 9 members. Each member of the Board shall have 1 vote. The State Treasurer, the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of State and the Controller General shall be members of the Board and shall serve on the Board ex officio. Five members shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Of the 5 appointed members, at least 1 member shall be a resident of Sussex County, at least 1 member shall be a resident of Kent County, and at least 1 member shall be a resident of New Castle County; and at least 2, but no more than 3, appointed members of the Board shall be affiliated with 1 of the major political parties and at least 1, but no more than 2, of the appointed members shall be affiliated with the other major political party;

    Therefore this is simply a dispute among members of the Board itself. All talk of overstepping authority, needs to be dismissed now.

    Furthermore:

    The investment of money belonging to the State shall be made by the State Treasurer in accordance with policies established by the Board and subject to the terms, conditions and other matters, including the designation of permissible investments relating to the investment of the money belonging to the State.

    Again, the Secretary has a viable interest within the Code of performing his fiduciary duties to the best of his availabilities. Again, one can only conclude, that is not overstepping one’s authority….

    As for hiring a consultant:

    The Board shall be authorized to enter into agreements to employ or contract for the services of private and public consultants, for research, technical or other services and for facilities,

    As a member of the board is is fully within his powers to hire an outside pair of eyes to investigate the current situation.

    Let us analyze the current situation…

    During Velda’s Treasury reign, the increase on investments decreased from $37.8 million in Fiscal 2009 to $19.3 million in Fiscal 2011. (Look out Wilmington!) Under Flowers it inched up $20.19 million in 2012 and is projected to pull in $22.5 million by last week, a climb of 11.44% this past fiscal year.

    The increase is credited to the adjustments recommended by Credit Suisse which move money into higher paying assets within law.

    The controversy is as follows.

    The plan calls for these firms to invest:

    Liquidity
    Cutwater Asset Management
    M & T Bank, N.A.
    PFM Asset Management LLC
    Wells Capital Management

    Reserve
    Chandler Asset Management
    Federated Investors, Inc.
    J.P. Morgan Asset Management
    Morgan Stanley Investment Management
    Schroder Investment Management North America, Inc.

    No where on there is Wilmington Trust. Of course they complain.

    But why was Wilmington Trust left off these recommendations? I think the report gives the appropriate answer.

    Treasurer Flowers charged the Committee with undertaking the following: (i) increase the number of investment managers to encourage competitive performance; (ii) decrease the fees charged by the state’s investment managers to generate cost savings for taxpayers; (iii) promote diversity and inclusivity; and (iv) propose investment managers that offer the best value for investment services to the People of the State of Delaware.

    That word in bold. Anyone, and I mean anyone who has dealt with Wilmington Trust from the 80’s to its demise as a bank, will look at that and say: Yep.

    You will have to do much more to make anyone believe Chip is the Treasurer from Nottingham. He sounds responsible to me.

  56. cassandra m says:

    Of course he sounds responsible to you. Because you’ve bought this story that Wilmington Trust isn’t getting its cut, when in fact (and much discussed here) that Wilmington Trust is part of M&T Bank. Which is one of the Liquidity Managers.

    smh
    :roll:

  57. Geezer says:

    Links don’t make up for lack of understanding. The issue is that the treasurer is not doing what the board voted. In other words, he’s a member of the board, but if it doesn’t vote the way he wants it to he’ll just ignore it.

    Also, it takes a special kind of cluelessness to compare return rates during the crash to those before or after. And an even more special kind to read the treasurer’s web site on the way to concluding that the treasurer is right.

    “All talk of overstepping authority, needs to be dismissed now.” As dismissive, aggressive and overconfident as a statement from our treasurer himself might be.

    Stay out of the deep end.

  58. I’ve seen some intellectual dishonesty in my time, and I see some more here.

    For the last time (what’s the point in repeating myself when the Chipaholics refuse to listen?), the issue is that Flowers is seeking to expand his powers beyond what they are. Everything else is just window-dressing from his apologists.

    As to intellectual dishonesty, here are two clear examples from Kavips comments:

    1. (From the Delaware Code, quoted by Kavips): The investment of money belonging to the State shall be made by the State Treasurer in accordance with policies established by the Board and subject to the terms, conditions and other matters, including the designation of permissible investments relating to the investment of the money belonging to the State.

    Kavips’ analysis: “Again, the Secretary has a viable interest within the Code of performing his fiduciary duties to the best of his availabilities. Again, one can only conclude, that is not overstepping one’s authority….”

    Of COURSE it is. The Code makes clear that the investment of money by the State Treasurer ‘shall be made…in accordance with policies established by the Board…”

    In other words, he has to do what the Board tells him, not what he wants to do.

    2. Regarding hiring an outside consultant: “The Board shall be authorized to enter into agreements to employ or contract for the services of private and public consultants, for research, technical or other services and for facilities…”

    Kavips’ analysis: “As a member of the board it is fully within his powers to hire an outside pair of eyes to investigate the current situation.”

    Unless the terms ‘Board’ and ‘Treasurer’ are interchangeable which, under law, they clearly are not, the BOARD has the power to hire consultants, not the Treasurer per se. He MIGHT have that authority as Treasurer, but not as a member of the Board unless the Board agrees.

    Obfuscate all you will, my point is a simple one: An elected official must operate within the legal scope of their office. Neither the Sheriff of Nuttingham nor Chip Flowers display the willingness to do so.

    Game. Set. Match.

  59. kavips says:

    You missed the part where Chip Flowers overstepped his boundaries… I can’t find that. Where?

    Your argument hinges on this supposition. ” Chip Flowers is seeking to expand his powers beyond what they are.”

    All three of you state that Chip is overextending his power by going against the board. I showed you (and you can’t see it) how he did not. At the basis here is the argument of..”what did the board decree?’ Then if so: “what did Chip do that went against the board?”

    Cassandra’s rebuttal is “oh, your just an apologist for Chip, humph.”
    Geezer’s is just to stir up the muck.
    El Som’s leaves out what Chip did to go against the Board…

    Did he, or did he not go against the board? If so, how?

    Without that piece, I guess, all three of each of your intellectual dishonesties are as equally untrue as you apparently suppose mine to be. Because without that piece it depends on perspective. But I showed that clearly unless Chip did something directly against the Cash Management Board directive, (if so then I’ll agree to your point: just now I think you are jumping to the conclusion of the prosecutor (Blevins) before any defense has put up any rebuttal) he has leeway in the code to do what he did, which as far as I can tell, was make suggestions to the board over how the funds should be invested.

  60. cassandra_m says:

    Cassandra’s rebuttal is “oh, your just an apologist for Chip, humph.”

    And this is where you double down on the intellectual dishonesty. I didn’t say anything about being an apologist — links or it didn’t happen — I did say that your analysis couldn’t be trusted since you couldn’t even get the Wilmington Trust part of it right. And rather than do some research and fix this key bit of wrong, you just want to claim that I called you an apologist.

    Seriously, if you don’t quite understand what is going on here, you should stay out of the conversation until you do.

  61. John Kowalko III says:

    What is this discussion even about? Substanceless assertions that the Treasurer is “overstepping his authority”, or the like, mean very little without more explanation. How exactly is Flowers going beyond his statutory (not constitutional) authority? Flowers has taken a lot of actions, and many of these are at issue with SB 151, and so to which ones are people referring? The vagueness of the criticism of Flowers is probably one source of the contention in the responses.

    Further, if some people seriously don’t understand that SB 151 would completely redefine the powers of the Board as expressed in the Delaware Code, then those people do not understand how to read statutory language. Since SB 151 is the basis for much of this discussion, it may be helpful for people to actually understand that bill. This may also reduce some of the contention on this thread by making clear whether the criticism at Flowers also support for SB 151 (since, as has already been pointed out, the inference of support due to opposition in another respect is not always warranted).

    As for the effect of SB 151, §2716 is perfectly clear in allocating the responsibility to make investments to the Treasurer, while the Board only establishes broad policies.

    *—
    (d) Powers and duties of Board. —

    (1) The Board is authorized and empowered to adopt rules and regulations for the general administration of its duties.

    (2) The Board shall establish a policy with respect to the creation of all checking accounts by the State or any agency or department by the State or any agency or department of the State, and the State Treasurer shall enforce that policy.

    (3) The Board shall be authorized to enter into agreements to employ or contract for the services of private and public consultants, for research, technical or other services and for facilities, whenever the same shall be deemed by the Board necessary or desirable in the performance of the functions of the Board. No such agreement shall be binding or enforceable unless the State shall have appropriated money to pay the obligations incurred by the Board hereunder.

    (4) The Board shall prepare and publish an annual report to the General Assembly concerning its activities.

    (5) The use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing is authorized for use in conducting meetings of the Cash Management Policy Board.

    (e) Powers and duties of State Treasurer. —

    (1) The investment of money belonging to the State shall be made by the State Treasurer in accordance with policies established by the Board and subject to the terms, conditions and other matters, including the designation of permissible investments relating to the investment of the money belonging to the State, except for money deposited in any state pension fund or funds of the State Deferred Compensation Program.

    (2) State agencies and departments, and school districts shall provide the State Treasurer with such reports and projections of receipts and expenditures as well as other data he or she may request to enable the Treasurer to provide the Board with accurate cash flow forecasts.
    —*

    Those policies set by the Board are to comport with the purpose of the Board, as described in section (a):

    *—
    The Board’s purposes shall be to establish policies for the investment of all money belonging to the State or on deposit from its political subdivisions, except money deposited in any state pension fund or the State Deferred Compensation Program, and to determine the terms, conditions and other matters relating to those investments including the designation of permissible investments. In carrying out its purpose to designate permissible investments, the Board shall exercise the judgment and care under the circumstances then prevailing which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence exercise in the management of their own affairs with due regard to the probable income and level of risk from investments of money belonging to the State or its political subdivisions in accordance with the policies established by the Board. In carrying out its purpose to determine the terms, conditions and other matters relating to the investment of money belonging to the State or its political subdivisions, unless the Board shall find it not in the State’s best interest, the Board shall:

    (1) Require as a condition to any deposit of such funds in any state or national bank or savings and loan institution that such deposits be continuously and fully secured by direct general obligations of or obligations the payment of the principal and interest on which are unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America or other suitable obligations as determined by the Board;

    (2) Require that the selection of financial institutions to provide banking and investment services pursuant to this section be conducted on an open and competitive basis; and

    (3) Require that temporary clearing accounts as well as major disbursement accounts be established in a bank or banks whose principal office is located within the State.
    —*

    Now, since we finally are looking at the actual language of the Code, it can easily been seen that the Board designates “permissible investments” and ensures that the “selection of financial institutions” is conducted openly and competitively, along with other provisions concerning general oversight of the State’s investments. If the Board is attempting to say that it can designate mandatory investments, or that the Treasurer is required to make particular investments as chosen by the Board, or that the Board can chose particular financial institutions or how to distribute investments between them, then that is a clear violation of the statutory law. Considering that the Board has complained about exactly these points, it seems clear that the Board is attempting to go beyond its authority. (I would greatly appreciate a similarly factually-based analysis of the criticism of Flowers. That would likely require detailing the actual policies set by the Board, then explaining why the Board has authority for those policies based on the Code, and then explaining the particular way that Flowers has ignored those policies.)

    Additionally, if these Code sections seem too vague (and a court may find them fairly vague, and thus would have to interpret them based on the rules of statutory interpretation), then as the rules of statutory interpretation dictate, the entire Chapter must be viewed as a whole. §2716(a), (a)(1)-(3), and (d) provide almost no substantive responsibilities for the Board. The Board is to set general policies (terms, conditions, etc., but not selecting particular investments or institutions) and provide oversight to ensure transparency and openness. The Board does not have any authority to select particular investments or finacial institutions. However, §2705 and §2716(e) make perfectly clear that the Treasurer is responsible for the actual investment of State money. (The issue that may still be debateable is where to drawn the line between “setting policy” and “making investments.” As I previously mentioned, the Code is explicit in allowing the Board only to designate “permissible investments” and not mandatory ones. If the Board’s policy requires the Treasurer to make a particular investment, such as by requiring even distribution between particular finacial institutions, then this likely violates the explicit mandate of the Code.)

    However, with regards to SB 151, the bill is clearly not designed to merely clarify the law (and so comparisons to Sheriff Christopher are just completely baseless). Indeed, SB 151 does not even affect the section of the Code outlining the respective “Powers and duties” of the Board and the Treasurer. Instead, the section that will be changed only has the Board currently responsible for ensuring openness and competitiveness in the selection of financial institutions. After the change, the Board will be responsible for the actual selection.

    *—
    (2) Require that the selection of financial institutions to provide banking and investment services pursuant to this section be conducted on an open and competitive basis as defined by the Board. It shall be the responsibility of the Board to approve the selection of each of the said financial institutions by a majority vote of the members of the Board. The Board, by a majority vote of its members, shall be responsible for setting the policy as to the allocation between short and long term investments and the allocation of funds to the respective financial institutions selected through the open and competitive process
    —*

    Now, whatever your contention about Flowers may be, there is no basis for the assertion that SB 151 merely clarifies the Code. A strong argument could even be made that the new language would directly conflict with the other language concerning “permissible investments”. (Indeed, the bill goes so far that it may be considered unconstitutional, on the theory that the legislature would be effectively removing the elected position of State Treasurer without the appropriate constitutional amendment by removing all the position’s powers. If SB 151 is passed, then Flowers would have a very strong position to argue in court. And if Markell truly wants the authority for the Board that SB 151 would confer, then he needs to do it the appropriate way, and urge the legislature to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing the position of State Treasurer as an independently elected position.)

  62. Jesus Christ. Read the fucking thread before you talk about ‘substanceless’.

    I cited but two examples where even Flowers’ most fervent defender argued that reality is 180 degrees removed from what is written in the Delaware Code.

    We just have a cowboy who wants to be more than what the law says he is.

  63. kavipos says:

    Thanks John, maybe they will listen to you.

  64. First of all, it’s the fils, not the pere.

    Secondly, bullshit is bullshit, regardless of the source.

    Finally, we don’t leave our brains at the door just b/c some presumed oracle holds sway over those unwilling to think for themselves.

  65. kavipos says:

    And the problem El Som, is that you have not made your case. Can you delineate those two examples. I went back through this thread and did not see them.

    Where did Chip overstep his bounds with the board. I showed you where he didn’t. You need to show practically the entire world other then the staff of Delaware Liberal, where he overstepped.

    Then, I’ll go away. Cause if there is a reason, this is not worth my time. But, if it is an attempt to discredit someone simply because he disagrees with Jack Markell, which has been done a number of times as you yourself point out regularly with some glee both here and on Al’s show, then Jack needs to be called on it.

    What exactly did Chip do that went against the board?

  66. John Kowalko III says:

    El Somnambulo,

    Please feel free to respond back to my post with actual substance. I made a detailed post that listed several parts of the Code, and based my analysis on what I wrote. I am not entirely sure why sourcing my information, just as cassandra_m had requested, is “bullshit,” and I would greatly appreciate an actual refutation of my analysis.

    I would also greatly appreciate you posting your examples again. I cannot seem to find them in this long thread. I cannot find anything in the criticism of Flowers on this thread that provides actual sources and bases the critical analysis on the language from those sources. I attempted to provide a very detailed analysis, instead of just repeating particular assertions multiple times. I would really appreciate your help, since I am trying to learn more about this issue, and my understanding of it is largely based on the recent News Journal article and the sections I quoted of the Delaware Code.

    EDIT: Considering that kavipos has also requested you to clarify your examples multiple times, and considering that a few other people have also taken issue with some of your examples, I think you providing them again would be very helpful for all. I think an analysis that bases those examples on a combination of the Code language and the actions of Flowers would also be helpful, instead of just merely giving bare assertions.

  67. You made the case that Chip was not state law. You even cited the Code to ‘prove’ it. (kavips comment: 11:22).

    At 12:07, I pointed out that you either deliberately misrepresented what the law was, or your reading comprehension was simply well below par. Chip does not have the authority to do what you claim he has the authority to do. Period.

    You proved the point I’ve been making all along.

    Finally, you know what annoys me more than mindless minions? Mindless minions regurgitating a candidate’s talking points.

    I see no reason to comment any further on this.

  68. You cut and pasted shit from the bill and from the Code. None of which goes to the point of this thread. There comes a point when my last nerve gets frayed, or is it fried?

    You’re the one engaging in, as you call them, ‘bare assertions’. Learn some reading comprehension along the way.

    I’m tired with this endless bullshit. I am incapable of making the point any more clearly than I have already done. Meaning, you are incapable of understanding said point.

    Disagree away, but leave ‘substanceless’ and ‘ bare assertions’ behind.

    BTW, spending well over 1000 words without making a point that could be made in a sentence, if you HAD a point, is not communication. It’s typewriting.

    Putting myself in timeout now…

  69. John Kowalko III says:

    I apologize, but are you seriously pointing to your 12:07 post as your two examples? That post is a refutation of kavipos, and, in particular relation to the argument that he is not doing want the Board tells him, it does nothing to explain what the Board told him to do that he is not doing, which is exactly the type of example I had requested.

    Also, you’re analysis of your first point in that 12:07 post is an erroneous over-generalization of the authority of the Board. The actual authority of the Board is one of the main points my post addresses, and I do not see anything in your responses to refute my analysis.

    Your second point in that post also does little to provide an example. Kavipos’s analysis may not have been correct as far as saying that the Treasurer has the power to hire an outside pair of eyes due to the Treasurer’s membership on the Board, but the Code does not exclude the Treasurer’s ability to do so on the basis of his own authority at all, as cassandra_m has noted. Since you also admit that the Code does not exclude the Treasurer’s ability to hire consultants in your post (“He MIGHT have that authority as Treasurer, but not as a member of the Board unless the Board agrees.”), I do not see how you can rely on that as an example of Flowers overstepping his authority, unless you can provide some source for the argument that this action is prohibited.

    If those are seriously you two examples, then my “substanceless” critique was accurate, even if it was not initially directed at you. The fact that, after posting numerous times, you are now unwilling to “comment any further on this” after I posted a detailed analysis that I put a lot of effort into making to help clarify the issues for everyone, I believe says a lot about the support you had for your original assertions.

  70. John Kowalko III says:

    I think I must have misunderstood your last post, El Somnambulo. First, if you already explained these things so well, then please just paste that text again. I do not understand the difficulty in doing so.

    Second, I thought this thread was about SB 151 and the authority of the State Treasurer. Cassandra_m has requested the information I posted, which makes my post even more on topic.

    Third, if you seriously think that my analysis does not make a point, or if you seriously believe that my post contained no analysis and was merely “copying and pasting,” then, with all due respect, you have no idea how to understand the law. Instead, you continue making baseless assertions and personal attacks. If you cannot see that, then I really feel bad for you, and maybe we should just end this discussion.

  71. kavips says:

    El Som… hate to say it but this is not you. What is the very first lead of this post? Here, to save everyone from going back up: “We’re gonna have drama after all! Democrats vs. fellow Democrat Chip Flowers. I support the Democrats not named Chip Flowers, and so should you. Here’s why.” Furthermore, there are 71 out of the 73 comments as of this writing, discussing Chip Flowers, the board and SB 151. The two that weren’t were Paul’s announcement that Townsend’s two amendments passed (yeah!) and John Young prematurely putting your name in to run against John Carney (what was that all about?)…

    Therefore I think you owe John Kowalko and everyone else an apology for yelling at them for being off thread… If they are, you have yourself to blame.

    Second. Obviously you don’t like to read. There are those that do and they like the facts put before them so they don’t have to look them up. I write for them.

    I think you are frustrated at having an newbreaking, thriving thread over a week old….. The fault in part is your new updated headline-ing software which puts this story front and center whenever one clicks in… Secondly, the next thing anyone does is read comments, and if all the comments are the most interesting of the day, then, everyone is going to jump in..

    That said, what John said above echoes my sentiments exactly… so I’ll save the repetition.

    As for your proof, this is what you offered. “Chip does not have the authority to do what you claim he has the authority to do. After all, you said ” Period.” Sorry, that is not proof by any standard of judgment.

    To my knowledge, and I’m pretty sure of it since it’s me, I don’t know what Secretary Flowers is claimed to have done. I have no idea how even my name was given those attributes. Therefore, since I don’t know what he is supposed to have done, I’m asking you to tell me what he has supposedly done. You seem to know. You said..”period”.

    My guess is you don’t have an answer, do you.

  72. cassandra m says:

    What is this discussion even about? Substanceless assertions that the Treasurer is “overstepping his authority”, or the like, mean very little without more explanation.

    Really? The usual thing to do is to read the post and the comments thread before jumping in with both feet. Because the thing that you are missing is that a few of us have read Title 29, Chapter 27 in its entirety. Which means that we can tell when you’ve posted what you think supports your argument and elided what doesn’t.

    But just for you — the Treasurer’s job is specifically enumerated in 2701 to 2715. There is a list there of duties and authorities that you might want to peruse. The beginning of 2716 you posted, but I am reposting here to point out what you refuse to read:

    (a) Establishment; purposes. — There is hereby established the Cash Management Policy Board (the “Board”). The Board’s purposes shall be to establish policies for the investment of all money belonging to the State or on deposit from its political subdivisions, except money deposited in any state pension fund or the State Deferred Compensation Program, and to determine the terms, conditions and other matters relating to those investments including the designation of permissible investments. In carrying out its purpose to designate permissible investments, the Board shall exercise the judgment and care under the circumstances then prevailing which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence exercise in the management of their own affairs with due regard to the probable income and level of risk from investments of money belonging to the State or its political subdivisions in accordance with the policies established by the Board. In carrying out its purpose to determine the terms, conditions and other matters relating to the investment of money belonging to the State or its political subdivisions, unless the Board shall find it not in the State’s best interest, the Board shall:

    (1) Require as a condition to any deposit of such funds in any state or national bank or savings and loan institution that such deposits be continuously and fully secured by direct general obligations of or obligations the payment of the principal and interest on which are unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America or other suitable obligations as determined by the Board;

    (2) Require that the selection of financial institutions to provide banking and investment services pursuant to this section be conducted on an open and competitive basis; and

    (3) Require that temporary clearing accounts as well as major disbursement accounts be established in a bank or banks whose principal office is located within the State.

    See that? This part of the stature basically gives this Board 5 categories of tasks they assume. This is the *policy* part. They establish policy for the investment of the State’s cash accounts; they determine the circumstances and the allocation of investments and the other three items are pretty plainly enumerated. The first two items are clearly accompanies by a standard of judgement and interests that the Board should maintain while investing the State’s money:

    In carrying out its purpose to designate permissible investments, the Board shall exercise the judgment and care under the circumstances then prevailing which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence exercise in the management of their own affairs with due regard to the probable income and level of risk from investments of money belonging to the State or its political subdivisions in accordance with the policies established by the Board.

    Got that? This Board gets to designate permissible investments and it is supposed to manage risk.

    Which means that the overstepping is in not carrying out what the Board voted should happen with the disbursement of the investments. Which is what the NJ article detailed, and what multiple reports over the past few years has detailed. The Board sets the investment direction and it is the Treasurer who executes on those decisions. He doesn’t get to do both parts of the job. He has one vote out of 9 for the policy portion and he executes the Board’s direction. If this Board wasn’t broken this process would be a fairly old school QC function (particularly if they ever posted their minutes). If you have a board that provides oversight to you or your organization, this is the way it works everywhere. And SB 151 provided a one sentence change to clarify the entire situation.

    The only way you can claim that the Treasurer has all of this complete autonomy is to simply not read the portions of this one page set of instructions. He has a legislated box that he has to work from. As does every elected official and appointees. Which is the way it should be. heragain pointed out that a number of us pointed out that he was running on a platform of taking away some of the duties and responsibilities of the Governor. This is fine as far as it goes — but what it does mean is that he has to make his case for changing the current legislated order here to: 1) The Governor; 2) The General Assembly; or 3) Both. Because that is where those changes can come from. Trying to just break the Cash Management Board isn’t a path to change — since he has no authority to act without them for certain things. I wish I could tell you that I was completely surprised that he didn’t at least wrangle some Legislative interest in doing this, but hey.

  73. cassandra m says:

    Therefore I think you owe John Kowalko and everyone else an apology for yelling at them for being off thread… If they are, you have yourself to blame.

    El Som is not to blame for anything here. Especially having to explain himself to people who can’t get the Wilmington Trust relationship down pat. If you can’t follow the thread, step away from the adult table, ok? Because this BS,
    As for your proof, this is what you offered. “Chip does not have the authority to do what you claim he has the authority to do.
    after he posted a long comment explaining where he was coming from means that you didn’t read what he had to say in this thread, either.

  74. geezer says:

    JK3: I appreciate your research and thorough analysis. But I would point out that whether Flowers is overstepping his authority is open to interpretation, or else there would be no controversy in the first place.

    This resembles the sheriff controversy because in both cases the executive and legislative branches curtailed the responsibilities of an elected official without bothering to do so at the constitutional level, and in both cases current practice does not seem to conform to language in the code.

    The basic issue is whether the board is advisory, with the treasury holding authority, or whether the board holds the authority, with the treasurer relegated to functionary. I have no idea how it will play out, but if the board were merely advisory, why would the treasurer have a seat on it?

    As I noted above, if you accept Flowers’ understanding of his role, he can attempt to sway his fellow board members to his positions but, if that fails, he can simply overrule them. I seriously doubt that whoever designed this board and wrote its enabling legislation meant for it to work that way.

  75. For the record, I never said that anyone was off-thread.

    Back to timeout…

  76. puck says:

    I seriously doubt that whoever designed this board and wrote its enabling legislation meant for it to work that way.

    You could ask them; I understand they are still on the board. They would probably agree with you.

    It appears the law does not authorize the board to pick individual banks, just to lay out an investment strategy for the kinds of funds in the portfolio. Sharing the goodies equally among certain favored banks is arguably a good strategy but still is a de facto way of picking banks and not competitive at all.

  77. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: with all due respect, I do not believe you accurately stated the basic issue. Both the Board and the Treasurer hold authority. The Board has the authority for setting policies, and the Treasurer has the authority for making investments (as the Code explicitly states). The issue is where the line is drawn between making investments and setting policy (and this is the issue that is open to interpretation). SB 151 certainly goes far beyond just clarify this line, and instead clearly creates a new line (this is not an issue that is legitimately open to interpretation). Also, please note that many advisory boards have members that serve who are also advisees of the board. The real question is why would the State Treasurer be an independently elected official if he is merely a functionary (and that is the constitutional issue for which Flowers would have a strong argument to make if SB 151 passes).

    Cassandra_m: I do not see how you address the fact that the Code says “permissible investments” and not simply “investments.” A huge degree of distinction exists between the two, especially when read in conjunction with the authority of the Treasurer to make the actual investments. I already explicitly addressed the details in the News Journal, and said that I believe the Board clearly is overstepping their authority if they are trying to dictate investments, instead of merely designating permissible investments. I never said the Treasurer has some “complete autonomy,” although I did make the argument that the Treasurer is more than a mere functionary, which is clear from any legitimate interpretation of the current Code. From my reading, even with your input, I still see the Code as saying that the Board designates permissible investments and sets the terms and conditions for those investments, and then the Treasurer chooses which financial institutions to make actual investments in. If you do not agree with this, then I am not entirely sure where we differ in our analysis.

    And for everyone, I am not saying that I agree with Flowers’s perspective or making any comment on whether he has overstepped his authority. As I already said, I do not know enough about the particular investment policies to make an informed comment on that. My argument is merely that the Treasurer does have some real authority, as the Code makes explicit. I do not know where that authority ends and the Board’s begins.

  78. kavips says:

    Well I’m glad to see you have finally come over to mine and John’s opinion that the board set the parameters and the treasurer has the freedom to execute them… I’m confused how you even thought the opposite. This is what I’ve been saying all along.

    Every single point I’ve made has been the request to find out where, if any, the Secretary went beyond the board’s parameters. You mentioned the News Journal, so I’ll check there, but previously I didn’t see that on their pages. Second you mention others have made that assertion. As you know, in politics assertions get made all the time, most often they are not completely true. Who was the source making that assertion?

    Since you seem to be the responsible one, where did Chip Flowers overstep the board? Not where did the board “feel like” Chip was over stepping, but where did he he actually overstep the board?

    Again, No one seems to know.

  79. cassandra m says:

    Well I’m glad to see you have finally come over to mine and John’s opinion that the board set the parameters and the treasurer has the freedom to execute them

    Since this wasn’t your original claim, I’ll just mark this as more intellectual dishonesty on your part. Compounded by the fact that you are actually here expecting that the rest of us haven’t read the bulk of this thread, either. The Treasurer does not have the “freedom” to execute the Board’s decisions, he has a statutory obligation to. The parameters the Board sets are the investment strategies (among others) and once set (even if he doesn’t agree with them) he is legally bound to do it.

    Since you seem to be the responsible one, where did Chip Flowers overstep the board?

    RIF

    :roll:

  80. geezer says:

    JK3: Your way of putting it is better than mine, but I agree the disagreement is over where the line of authority is drawn.

    “The real question is why would the State Treasurer be an independently elected official if he is merely a functionary”

    Because hobbling any office without bothering to change the constitution leads to badly written laws with unclear lines of authority.

  81. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: Touché

  82. puck says:

    RIF = Really, I Forgot

  83. geezer says:

    Whatever the outcome of this controversy, Flowers yet again has hurt himself by shooting off his mouth. His gratuitous insult of Markell to Starkey has nothing to do with this issue and calls into question his judgment and temperament. He’ll need much better self-control if he hopes to gain higher office.

  84. We’ve kinda come back to Square One. Which was this: Both the Sheriff of Nuttingham and Chip Flowers sought to (mis)interpret the law in a manner that perhaps only Nixonian contortionist Rose Mary Woods could understand.

    They both sought to give to themselves powers they did not have. The General Assembly passed legislation ‘clarifying’ the proper role of the Sussex County Sheriff. There was a movement afoot to do the same to the office of State Treasurer on June 30.

    Many people on this blog reacted with glee to the first, myself among them, some with outrage to the second. I will point out that the issue is the same in both cases.

    Flowers himself talked about a coming together in a conciliatory manner on June 30, and then launched a full-frontal assault on the Governor days later. He misrepresented his intentions.

    His wounds are self-inflicted. And well-deserved.

    If indeed, as Geezer suggests, what is needed is ‘clarifying’ legislation to make clear what has been clear to other state treasurers for 20 years or more, will the people who reacted with outrage at that notion on June 30, react with outrage again? Because that’s what the bill in question would have done.

    If so, why? It’s the exact same principle that applied to the Sheriff of Nuttingham. Which has been my point all along.

  85. jason330 says:

    The Transitive Property rules resplendent.

  86. puck says:

    Flowers yet again has hurt himself by shooting off his mouth

    He doesn’t look hurt to me. I guess we will find out on Election Day.

    if he hopes to gain higher office.

    Who cares? Maybe he’s not playing Delaware Way like you want him to.

  87. John Kowalko III says:

    El Somnambulo: SB 151 would not merely clarify the law, at least not the law as it is currently written. That is clear from even a cursory glance at Title 29, Chapter 27 and SB 151.

  88. geezer says:

    “Who cares? Maybe he’s not playing Delaware Way like you want him to.”

    Grow up. If a Republican talked that way — and they do, all the time — we’d all be jumping up and down and pointing out what an asshole he was.

    “He doesn’t look hurt to me. I guess we will find out on Election Day.”

    I have no doubt he’ll be re-elected. If Karen Weldin-Stewart can get re-elected, anybody can be. But I also have no doubt that he’ll never win another elective office unless he learns when and how to shut up.

  89. SussexWatcher says:

    Geezer, I think you just told a black man to shut up. That’s practically racist, by gum! Are you an overseer or something?

    [sarcasm off]

  90. geezer says:

    Puck: I don’t “want” Chip Flowers to do anything. You apparently mistake the Delaware Way for simple comity. He made a shitty, nasty comment about Markell, the sort of lashing out he does whenever he’s criticized. In doing so he went off-subject, making it clear that the criticism was personal rather than professional. That has nothing to do with the Delaware Way, which he is challenging by speaking out about the board.

    Indeed, he would get further fighting the Delaware Way by keeping his concentration on the topic. In making it personal with Markell, he cedes the high moral ground.

    For what it’s worth, I’ll be saying all the same things to him as soon as I talk to him again.

  91. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: could you please quote the “shitty, nasty comment about Markell” made by Flowers? I can’t seem to find it.

  92. geezer says:

    JK3:

    These two paragraphs are the last on page 2 and first on page 3 on the Delaware Online version of the Sunday story:

    “The Treasurer’s decisions to ignore the determinations of the board are the source of the current controversy,” Markell said. “Time will tell if losses result from his actions. I am concerned by the precedent this sets, and not surprised that board members or a money manager would be upset that the Treasurer ignored the board’s decisions.”

    Flowers shot back, responding that, “As the governor is well aware, I can spend most of my day criticizing some of the economic policies of the Markell administration but I have chosen not to do so. We’re trying to give the governor the benefit of the doubt even though Delaware has experienced anemic economic growth and we’ve lost millions on economic development projects,” Flowers said.

    Perhaps some deep thinker — you there, Puck? — can explain how parroting a Republican helps Flowers’ cause.

  93. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: I don’t understand how that is nasty or shitty or personal? That seems like a fairly tame criticism that is directly addressing the issues at the center of this controversy. Aren’t Flowers’s current actions meant by him to be a response to Delaware’s anemic economic growth, which has been exacerbated by the millions we have lost on economic development problems? Our anemic economic growth and the millions lost on economic development problems are simply facts, so maybe you are referring to the first line about how Flowers could spend most of his day? Even if you find that comment inappropriate (which I don’t fully understand that angle either), it certainly isn’t shitty, nasty, or personal. I would really appreciate you helping me to understand your criticism of Flowers’s comment.

    Also, who is parroting a Republican? I apologize for not understanding that final line.

  94. geezer says:

    The “simple facts” you note can be put in any number of terms; to put them in the most unflattering terms shows animosity, particularly when the terms used are the exact same ones you can read every day from the Caesar Rodney Institute.

    “Aren’t Flowers’s current actions meant by him to be a response to Delaware’s anemic economic growth, which has been exacerbated by the millions we have lost on economic development problems?”

    No. He campaigned on the same issues, and he couldn’t make the same criticisms then.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see the response as being at all on-topic. Markell made statements about the controversy, and Flowers responded with an attack on Markell’s record rather than sticking to the issue.

    If you don’t understand how a Democrat sticking his thumb in the eye of his own party’s sitting governor is both nasty and personal, I’m afraid I can’t help you. Rest assured that most politicians consider any negative statement about a member of their own party made in public a gross breach of conduct. If you don’t believe me, ask your dad how he is viewed among Democrats for saying things that were far less inflammatory.

  95. puck says:

    Just basic schoolyard stuff, no deep thinking required. Markell questioned Flowers’ judgment, and in response Flowers questioned Markell’s judgment. Good for Flowers; he gives as good as he gets. Markell is not used to being spoken to that way. But Markell started it so he and his defenders have no right to complain.

  96. geezer says:

    On the chance that you really don’t understand how to construct a nasty but polite-seeming insult, I’ll break it down for you:

    “As the governor is well aware, I can spend most of my day criticizing some of the economic policies of the Markell administration”

    Translation: I can make myself a major pain in the ass to the governor if I choose to do so.

    “but I have chosen not to do so”

    This means the opposite of what it states. If he had chosen not to do so, he wouldn’t have said the first half of the sentence.

    “We’re trying to give the governor the benefit of the doubt”

    The use of the royal We is chest-puffing. The correct pronoun would be “I,” unless he’s talking about himself and Republicans. It also indicates that he thinks his judgment is better than the governor’s, which is an insult considering the governor is the leader of the party to which Flowers nominally belongs.

    “even though Delaware has experienced anemic economic growth and we’ve lost millions on economic development projects,”

    Once again, he makes criticisms while pretending that he really doesn’t want to.

    You know what he sounds most like? A blackmailer saying, “I could criticize you long and hard, and I will if you don’t do what I want.”

    I don’t blame him. The party wants nothing to do with him, so he has to make his way on his own. He will rise or fall on his merits, but I guarantee you that his lack of loyalty will color every party member’s opinion of him for some time to come.

  97. geezer says:

    “Markell started it so he and his defenders have no right to complain.”

    Thank you, Puck, for illustrating that you don’t understand anything about politics. Criticism of Flowers is not support of Markell, except maybe in your schoolyard.

    “Good for Flowers; he gives as good as he gets.”

    I’m pretty sure this is the motto of meatheads everywhere. No deep thinking indeed.

    Markell was asked for a comment about the controversy and gave one. Flowers was asked for a response and failed to make it about the controversy. Conclusion many people will reach: It’s just personal.

  98. SussexWatcher says:

    “I guarantee you that his lack of loyalty will color every party member’s opinion of him for some time to come.”

    Geezer, there you go bringing up COLOR again, going after Delaware’s only statewide elected Black officeholder. You must be a champion of White privilege – a Ivy and Harvard grad or something!

    [that's sarcasm again]

  99. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: It seems like you first criticize Flowers for speaking against a fellow Democrat, and then your final line seems to suggest that certain Democrats are being unfair by viewing my dad in a particular way because of his criticisms of a fellow Democrat? If Flowers is being nasty and personal because he criticized Markell’s economic policies (and let’s not forget that economic policies are fairly important to a the job of Treasurer, with fairly important being an understatement), then I would assume you think my dad is nasty and personal as well? While I do not think you meant it that way, that does seem to be the conclusion of your logic.

    Or is your characterization of Flowers’s comments based on your belief that he stated facts in an unflattering way? I didn’t realize that “showing animosity” (which Markell’s comments, not to even mention his actions, clearly show, which takes so much away from your assertion about Flowers) meant that any comments that the person makes are nasty, shitty, and personal. Also, should we really be so quick to condemn someone for speaking out against other members of his party? I think that is a pretty thin line, especially when considering that we have a governor who pursues a fairly conservative Republican agenda with his economic policies.

    Honestly, I don’t really want a response, because I don’t think that Flowers comments are nasty, shitty, or personal, and because I find your reasoning justifying that characterization to be very superficial. Unless you have a different quote to which you may have been referring, I would rather just respectfully disagree with your characterization of the comments.

    Also, I do not really like talking about my dad, as people already too easily conflate my views with his own, and I would prefer if my statements, ideas, and beliefs are considered on their own (especially since I make a strong effort to not talk to my dad about issues for which I want to make public comments). This is not really a criticism of your response, since you did not make the reference to demean my comments, but just a statement about my own preferences.

  100. kavips says:

    So, how come no one on this thread knows what Chip Flowers did to overstep the board?

    Where is Nancy when we need her?

  101. Jason330 says:

    The quote from Flowers regarding Markell was a huge fuck up. I’m sure he’ll put on a brave face about it, but he knows it was a fuck up.

  102. geezer says:

    If Chip Flowers wants to criticize fellow Democrats, that’s his right. My criticism of it is merely observation; I really don’t care even a tiny bit who wins the pissing contest, I’m just pointing out his strategy.

    I’m sorry, but you really don’t seem to understand how Flowers’ response will be heard by people in politics, so as I said earlier, I can’t help you.

    You also misconstrue my suggestion to ask your father about how he is perceived by some of his fellow Democrats. I know your father quite well, and I know exactly how much they dislike his outspokenness because he has told me that himself. I suggested you ask him only because I know what he’ll say.

    And those people who think ill of him do so despite the fact that his public statements have never been as insulting as those Flowers made. I was trying to show you that in intra-party politics even mild criticism is treated as open warfare. Flowers didn’t mispeak — he meant those comments to be insulting, and I guarantee they were taken that way.

  103. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: I read your follow-up comment, and I found it even less convincing. You have to really be reading your own perception into it to come out with that analysis and say that the analysis justifies calling his comment nasty, shitty, and personal. If you had initially said that Flowers had insulted Markell, I would probably not have used that characterization, but I wouldn’t have really disagreed. I mean, Flowers really just criticized Markell, and directed that criticism at his policies. I’m sorry if you don’t feel the policies he criticized are related to the controversy, but that still does not mean his comments rise to the level of nasty, shitty, and personal. Your comparison with blackmail shows just how exaggerated your characterization is.

    Also, Markell is not the leader of the party, and even if he was, that in no way would mean that Democrats cannot criticize him, especially when Markell’s economic track record is remarkably conservative.

    SussexWatcher: I’m going to assume you are white, that you have no idea what it’s like to live in a country where people judge you every day because of your skin color, and that you have no idea how racially coded much of the criticism of Flowers has been during this controversy. Fortunately, I will never again have to direct a comment at you, because you are really just a low person.

    EDIT: Geezer, trust me, you don’t need to tell me how politics work (or how people “in politics” are going to hear something).

  104. geezer says:

    “So, how come no one on this thread knows what Chip Flowers did to overstep the board?”

    You mean specifically? I can’t think of anyone who would care. Unless everybody Starkey talked to is lying, Flowers didn’t follow the board’s proposed action on something. He’s also using the board as a whipping boy to further his career, which is not how powerful insiders like to be treated. Nothing wrong with any of that, but please stop pretending you can’t see the controversy.

  105. SussexWatcher says:

    The treasurer has nothing to do with economic policy, no matter how many times the Chippettes repeat it. The treasurer is a row officer on the state level, like clerk of peace or sheriff or register of wills. The job’s duties are strictly outlined in state law.

    Chip wants to interpret the word “policy” in a way that no one else has interpreted it in decades, not even dumb-as-a-brick Janet Rzewnicki. There’s a reason no legislator is speaking out in support of his position and why Nancy Willing and kavips – who inexplicably stull thinks his man is the Secretary of Something! – are his two most prominent backers. It’s because Chip Is Wrong.

    The system we have now works, yet Chip wants to break it and trust him to do a better job. Why should we? Make a halfway-decent, logical, public-policy based case for that and you might get people to listen. But no one’s saying that.

  106. geezer says:

    I really don’t care if you find it convincing or not. Your contention that the criticism of the state’s economic performance under Markell has something to do with this issue is simply off-base. This issue was Flowers’ signature issue in his campaign, when none of the investments had yet gone tits-up. Let’s not pretend it has only come up again because Chip Flowers cares so deeply about the people of Delaware.

    You clearly don’t understand the principle of comity, either. You simply don’t talk that way about your own party’s governor unless you’re looking for open warfare.

    EDIT: Like hell I don’t, unless you’re just playing stupid here.

  107. SussexWatcher says:

    JKIII: If you want to follow a leader whose fervent kool-aid drinking supporters cry RACISM!!!! every time someone dares point out that their man is a full-of-crap windbag, go ahead. If Chip Flowers wants to play in the Bigs, he and his people need to stop getting upset, and get even.

    That’s the way politics is played, and so far, I’m not finding much evidence that Chip can play the game for shit. You don’t see any of the successful minority politicians in this country running up the Black, Asian or Hispanic flag every time their bills get defeated or they get challenged. You see losers using that card.

  108. John Kowalko III says:

    Geezer: I wasn’t trying to say that you should care that I don’t find your argument convincing (and I also wasn’t trying to tell you what you do or do not understand, because that is fairly demeaning). Indeed, I said earlier that we should just agree to respectfully disagree, because we do not seem to be seeing things the same way on the characterization of Flowers’s comment. From what I can tell, we do not seem to disagree on the facts, but just our perception of a particular comment, and so no extended discussion is really necessary.

    I hope to be able to listen to you tomorrow! Goodnight!

  109. John Kowalko (the father) says:

    I will make an attempt to redirect the course of the conversation back to the original bone of contention which is SB 151. This poor excuse for legislation is an embarrassingly obvious attempt to circumvent existing law and if you all would kindly go to the “KAVIPS” post titled “the June 30th coup, you will read a simple verbatim comparison of the existing code and the rather odious attempt (in SB 151) to corrupt the system. That should be the point of the discussion and the focus of the criticism. If this rather obvious attempt to intimidate or weaken an independently elected office by shifting the authority to the appointed board of “special interests” who might benefit the most is resurrected in 2014 I (for one) will demonstrate how shrill public criticism can become.
    Here is my brief comment to the Kavips post, (please read the Kavips post it’s very enlightening)

    John Kowalko Jr.

    Excellent comparison of the original law and the abhorrent attempt implicit in SB 151 to corrupt the current system. Should be understandable to anyone vaguely intelligent and honestly open-minded. Good job and you should post it on DL as written here. Feel free to include my remark if you’d like.
    John Kowalko (the proud father)

  110. geezer says:

    SW: To be fair, I’ve never known Chip himself to pay any attention to race, or to play the victim on racial grounds. He’s an intelligent, well-educated guy who tends to let his mouth get ahead of his head when he doesn’t get his way. That’s a drawback only to the extent that nobody gets to be governor without making allies along the way.

  111. geezer says:

    I would respectfully point out that if you think SB 151 is out of bounds — I’m not taking any stand either way because I neither know nor care who invests this money and who is better positioned to do so — then you logically should agree with Jeff Christopher that the powers of his office were ineptly and unfairly curtailed at some point in the past.

  112. geezer says:

    I suppose it hardly bears mentioning that Delaware is arguably the least democratic (small d) state in the union, the only one that gives the public neither direct referendums on issues nor the opportunity to place laws written by the public a hearing in the legislature.

    The underlying issue is whether specialized offices such as treasurer and insurance commissioner, along with row offices beyond sheriff, should be elective or appointive. The trend in Delaware has been to gather power into the executive branch, first by replacing independent sheriffs with the state police force, later by replacing the state’s commission system of administration with a cabinet-based approach, taking power from commissioners of each unit and placing it with the governor. Similarly, the county turned from a Levy Court to an elected executive.

    All these moves are toward a stronger central government, with all the pros and cons that brings. When a governor wields that much power, a corrupt or incompetent one can cause great damage. On the other hand, asking voters to decide the best manager to fill a specialized office produces a fair share of fools, knaves and bumblers as well.

    I lean towards giving the power to the governor, if only because it’s absurd to expect voters to even comprehend in any detail what each office entails. To determine which insurance commissioner candidate would best perform the job would require every voter to learn enough about the insurance business to make an informed judgment. Of course that’s absurd — if we all knew that much we wouldn’t need the government protection in the first place. Even a straightforward job like sheriff is prone to poor choices by easily misled voters — think Joe Arpaio, who is re-elected again and again.

    I am aware that a strong central government is more difficult to confront when it’s incompetent or, more commonly, corrupt. But then I rarely hear people who were there pining for the old days, when decentralized government merely meant more, if smaller, semi-independent sources of corruption.

  113. kavips says:

    i was going to chime in with two cents but Geezers comment above (12:20) is so good, I think it should end this thread. Time to put this to bed.

  114. In reading through the analysis of statute and proposed statute, it appears that the Board acted outside its authority in telling the State Treasurer WHO should get the benefit of their investment policy.

    SB 151 is the statutory “fix” to enable the Governor (by way of his appointees) to chose which banks get the investments (and to do it in the dark) rather than the Treasurer, as the law presently allows.

    Under present statute (as I see it and I may be wrong), the CMPB may not decide which banks the Treasurer invests our money in, only how to invest the money.

    Thus the “overseers” overstepped in responding to Nick Adams’ email complaint by demanding that Flowers increase M&T-WT ‘s share or else.

    Flowers doesn’t have to get the legislature to clarify the code. It is clear enough on this point. The Governor (who basically controls ALL of the board but the elected Treasurer) hopes to ‘fix’ that with new legislation.

    I do see a conflict in member(s) of a board, who serve at the pleasure of the Governor, being monster-donor(s) to the Governor’s PAC etc..

  115. geezer says:

    I was not suggesting legislation to clarify anything. I suggest that if we want to abolish or change the duties of an elective office, the constitution, not the code, is the proper way to do it.