Hobbs Admin Suggests Yee Broke Law At State Board Of Investment Meeting

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The Hobbs administration suggests that Treasurer Kimberly Yee violated state law by refusing to recognize agency-based board members at a State Board of Investment meeting on Tuesday.

Yee did not acknowledge the employees from two departments in response to Gov. Katie Hobbs’ decision to pull all of her agency director picks from Senate consideration in order to avoid dealing with the Arizona Senate Committee on Director Nominations, which the governor dubbed hyper-partisan in nature, The Center Square reported.

The letter specifically mentioned how Yee did not seat Arizona Department of Administration Assistant Director of Business & Finance Ashley Retsinas, but the letter from ADOA’s Interim Director Ben Henderson states that Retsinas has attended those meetings since Oct. 2020 as a designee for the department. Henderson said that Yee had an “obvious misinterpretation” of Arizona Revised Statutes, specifically citing A.R.S.§ 35-311(A) and A.R.S.§ 38-462.

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“The taxpayers deserve to have their funds invested optimally to maximize ROI, and they have entrusted Treasurer Yee with that responsibility,” Henderson said in the letter. “By shutting out the voices of fellow agencies, you are failing to take into account all of the information that the law requires in order to do right by our taxpayers.”

However, Yee’s statement from Tuesday paints a different picture.

“Due to the recent actions of the Governor, I did not recognize employees from the Arizona Department of Administration or the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions as legally participating members at today’s State Board of Investment meeting,” Yee said in a statement. “Yesterday’s decision by the Governor to pull the nominations of these cabinet-level positions has created chaos and confusion that is contrary to the orderly administration of government business. The absence of lawfully appointed directors of these two agencies creates legal uncertainty and jeopardizes the proceedings of the State Board of Investment.”

Yee also commented on Hobbs’ decision to pull her director picks when the Republican treasurer briefly served as acting governor this week.

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“While I am pleased to step into this role, I will refrain from naming directors to the 13 agencies that currently have vacancies and will not call the Arizona Legislature into session to confirm them,” she said in a statement Wednesday.

The Center Square reached out to another top Republican elected official in the state, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, to see if he would take similar actions to Yee. His office said that Horne does not have meetings where Hobbs’ administration staff is involved.

Yee responded to Henderson’s letter on Friday afternoon, calling the rhetoric “unprofessional” and “juvenile.”

“As you will see, I did not make this decision for political reasons, as suggested by your staff, but rather out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the actions taken by the BOI during the September 23, 2023, meeting were legitimate and lawful.”

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This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: website AZ Treasurer

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