Crist weighs in on Stipanovich, fund mess
Gov. Charlie Crist passed up a chance Monday to endorse Coleman Stipanovich, the state's investment-fund overseer at the center of a controversy over a recent run on a local government investment pool that has forced the state to suspend fund withdrawals.
Asked how high is his confidence in Stipanovich's ability, Crist said: "How high? It's hard to say. I think he works hard. He works hard." Asked if Stipanovich's job were in jeopardy, Crist said: "I wouldn't say that."
Crist said his goal was "for the fund to be protected in a responsible way," and said he was expecting to be able to act on a series of recommendations by the Black Rock investment firm. Nearly a third of the fund's assets have vanished in recent weeks as cities, counties, school districts and special districts reacted to the downgrading of some of the fund's mortgage-backed debt by Wall Street.
Crist reiterated his view that what is "most important" is to protect the state pension fund for its beneficiaries (Stipanovich asked Crist, CFO Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum to use the pension fund as a credit backstop for the troubled Local Government Investment Pool.