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County to Monitor Investment Strategy

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will be asked to establish a treasury oversight committee to prevent the sort of mismanagement that landed Orange County nearly $2 billion in the red.

The supervisors have little choice. Every county was directed by the state Legislature to form such a committee after Orange County declared bankruptcy in late 1994.

Harold S. Pittman, the Ventura County treasurer-tax collector, is recommending that the board appoint a three-member committee made up of himself, a supervisor and a representative from the county superintendent of schools office.

Pittman was out of town and unavailable for comment.

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But Assistant Treasurer John R. McKinney said that Pittman provides supervisors with a monthly report on its investment pool, which routinely hovers between $650 million and $800 million.

“Ventura County has been very conservative in the past,” McKinney said. “For some counties, this is a big deal, but for our county, it’s not. We’ve always reported monthly to the board.”

McKinney said school officials deserve a seat on the proposed oversight panel.

“The schools represent the largest non-county member of the investment pool,” McKinney said. “So it’s important for them to participate and have them sure that they’re comfortable with what’s going on.”

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The investment fund provides operating cash to county government, schools and local districts. McKinney said the fund currently has a balance of about $680 million.


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