Highlights of Treasurer Lemoine’s First Term , 2005-2006

 

Better Cash Management:

  • Modified collateral security requirements for money market accounts held in the Treasurer’s cash pool so that the State has higher credit ratings and better earnings. 
  • Aggressively pushing competition for cash pool funds, thereby increasing earnings on the pool.
  • Creating plans for daily cash-pool investing to occur through off-site management in the event of a disaster, snow-day or other disruption of state functions.
  • Updated the State’s banking contract to reduce fees, improve and expand services.
  • Worked closely with the Controller’s office to overhaul of the state’s 20-year-old accounting system while preserving the financial checks and balances that a legislatively elected Treasurer must keep on Executive Branch activity.

 

 Better Short-Term Debt Management:

  • Implemented a borrowing policy that seeks to “borrow no more than is needed, no sooner than we need it.”
  • Created, in close coordination with the State Controller, a written internal cash-pool borrowing policy that helped avoid a Tax Anticipation Note, (TAN), this year.
  • Established a LOC, (line of credit -not yet tapped) policy for covering General Fund cash flow needs that exceed our internal cash-pool borrowing capacity.  The combination of internal borrowing guidelines and this LOC approach should save about $5.5 million in FY 06-07.

 

Better Long-Term Debt Management:

  • Instituted borrowing plan disclosure requirements process for agencies which are drawing on bond funds.  This improved predictability adds confidence to the legislature’s budgeting process by creating more accurate debt service projections.
  • Issuing advance notices of bond sales to the Maine investment advisors so that Maine investors may participate fully in each sale.  Last year nearly 100% of Maine’s $53 million bond issue was purchased by Maine investors.

 

Improved Office Management:

  • Consolidated all Treasury personnel into a single office structure with unified management, thereby adding flexibility and productivity to the Treasury work effort.
  • Implemented a flex-time policy for employees that both improved staff satisfaction levels and assured complete coverage during all regular office hours for all critical Treasury functions.
  • Reduced staff from 19 positions to 17 positions over two years.
  • Invested in equipment, such as wireless headsets, to improve personnel efficiency.
  • Revamped the telephone system to give clearer guidance to callers and to encourage use of the Treasurer’s website for quick, complete and always available information.

 

More Effective Unclaimed Property Processing:

  • Modified the annual unclaimed property newspaper advertising process to roll-out the statewide notice over the course of 4 weekends instead of all at once.  This month-long regional distribution (North, South, West and Coast) has smoothed out the claims process with the benefit of greatly reducing telephone wait-times. 
  • Instituted uniform affidavits as acceptable proof for most claims, greatly reducing the proof and processing burden on both claimants and Treasury staff.
  • Designed and implemented an ONLINE SEARCH & CLAIMS program that allows an easy online search of the Unclaimed Property database and sets out a simple process for claiming lost property.
  • Designed and implemented an improved ONLINE HOLDER REPORT process that makes it easier for businesses to comply with Maine law and has substantially reduced the data-import workload on Treasury staff.
  • Begun handling State of Maine stale (old and uncashed) checks through our Unclaimed Property process rather than through an additional layer of stale check notifications.  This has saved nearly 5 weeks of time for one staff member each year and has quickened the repayment process to owners.
  • Upgraded our unclaimed property computer system to improve efficiency and reduce staff time on data-entry.  As a result, we have
  • Eliminated a 2 year backlog of claims for lost stocks.
  • Have had the fewest dropped calls, shortest telephone waits, most money paid out, and highest (by a lot) percentage of claims paid on record.
  • Created a written policy for how long (36 months) we hold an unclaimed stock, after advertising it, before we sell it and make the funds available to the General Fund.  This policy has allowed us to treat all stockholders fairly and consistently, to timely assist the General Fund with these assets and to preserve the value of the stockholder’s claim over time regardless of the rise or fall of that stock’s value.  Claimants never lose the right to claim the value of that stock, so we hold in perpetuity the stock information as well as our liability to pay a proper claim for the stock.
  • Increased the number of claims paid and the amount paid even though the number and value of reported lost properties decreased. The success ratios at the bottom show the size of the improvements.

 

 
Unclaimed Property

 

Period Covered:  March 1 - November 30

 

2004

 

2005

 

2006

Properties Advertised
12,392
15,756
9,138
Checks Issued
8,326
8,117
11,906
Amount Paid
$8,370,837.44
$7,590,651.05
$10,502,117.16
Shares Paid
44,497
8,117
84,459
       
Ratio Cks Issued to Prop Adv
0.671885087
0.515168825
1.302910921
Ratio Shares Pd to Prop Adv
3.590784377
2.794300584
9.242613263

 

 

 

Productive Board Activity

  • FAME, where the Treasurer sits as a board member, has implemented a First Steps grant program to encourage Maine families to begin saving for college at an early age. This initiative began with strong support from the Treasurer’s investment advisory committee.
  • FAME is implementing a new Gold Star Scholarship program to make sure that every child of a Maine serviceman who dies or has died in Iraq or Afghanistan will have at least $25,000 available when he or she starts college.
  • Maine Municipal Bond Bank, where the Treasurer serves as a board member, adopted the Treasurer’s motion to create a $1 million grant program to assist in consolidation efforts amongst municipalities.

 

Improved Trust Fund Management

  • Created a formal investment policy for the Baxter State Park trust to assure long-term portfolio growth with reasonable yearly earnings for support of BSP operations. The Treasurer acts as trustee for a state held Baxter Trust, along with nearly 80 other smaller trusts.