State treasurer candidate blasts Ivey’s speech

Published 11:08 am Friday, September 11, 2009

A 2010 Democratic candidate for the Alabama treasurer’s position this week charged current Treasurer Kay Ivey with seeking to mislead Shelby County residents about the financial stability of the state’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program.

Jeremy Sherer, an Oneonta resident and the only current Democratic candidate for the position, accused Ivey of “glossing over” PACT’s financial troubles during her Sept. 8 speech to the Calera Chamber of Commerce.

“I just had a problem with her entire portrayal of the system. It was completely skewed,” Sherer said. “She said that everything with the system is fine until 2014, but the program is set to last until 2032.”

During her speech, Ivey, who has declared her intent to run for governor, told the chamber PACT recently has been negatively impacted by the nationwide economic downturn.

PACT, which allows state residents to finance their children’s college tuition over the course of several years, recently has faced many questions as state officials have been working to ensure the program can meet its future financial obligations.

Although PACT lost much of its funds over the past several months, a Retirement Systems of Alabama study recently found no financial mismanagement tied to the program, Ivey said.

“I think she is more focused on running for governor than upholding her responsibilities as treasurer right now,” Sherer said. “There were unfound investments made by the PACT board while the economy was tanking.”

The treasurer candidate also blasted Ivey for what he said were overly conservative investment practices over the past few weeks.

“It’s just bad financial management during bad economic times. She is not utilizing her due diligence in managing those investments,” Sherer said. “Now, when she should be capitalizing on the rising economy, she is playing it conservative.

“The next treasurer will be a stakeholder in PACT, and will have to work hard to manage those investments,” Sherer added. “But none of those are topics she is talking about right now.”