A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Oakland County Treasurer Andrew Meisner

Trying to cash in on the country’s bond rating reduction, Oakland County Democratic Treasurer Andy Meisner sent out a campaign email saying he played a part in Oakland County’s AAA bond rating.

“Thanks in part to your Democratic County Treasurer, Oakland County has maintained its AAA bond rating and is bragged about by the ratings agencies during their discussions with other governments,” the campaign document reads.

Meisner didn’t respond to an email seeking comment on how the Treasurer’s office played a part in the AAA bond rating.

Robert Daddow, Deputy County Executive, Oakland County.

Robert Daddow, Oakland County’s deputy executive, called Meisner’s claim “insulting” and a “travesty.”

“Oakland County has received the AAA bond rating 10 years before he took the position of treasurer,” Daddow wrote in an email.

Daddow said bond rating agencies look at four areas when determining creditworthiness: liquidity, business practices, outstanding debt/capacity, and economic environment.

Daddow said that the Treasurer’s Office only has a small impact in one of those four categories — liquidity.

Meisner oversees a department with 40 to 50 full-time positions out of a county-wide total of 4,000 plus. The Treasurer does invest the available cash, collects delinquent taxes and runs the auction for foreclosed properties, Daddow wrote.

“His attempt to leverage campaign contributions off of others’ hard work — including the other county-wide elected officials who have taken severe voluntary cuts along with the employee groups — is a travesty,” Daddow wrote.

David Hitchcock, the state’s analyst for Standard & Poor’s, said the key role for the Treasurer is to make sure investors and credit rating companies have adequate information. Hitchcock said one of the four factors considered in a bond rating is a county’s financial policies.

“Within that, the Treasurer is just one role,” Hitchcock said. “The key decision maker would be the Chief Administrator Officer. … If a Treasurer is screwing up, it could have a negative impact. Assuming they are doing their job, I’m not sure what the additive effect would necessarily be.”

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