...in February 2009 Standard and Poor’s, a bond rating agency, stated, “The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the town will maintain reserve levels that are commensurate with the rating category."True, that sentence was part of the letter, but that's not all that Standard & Poor's had to say.
First some background. The terms and conditions of the rating:
Standard & Poor's issues public finance ratings for a fee upon request from an issuer, or from an underwriter, financial advisor, investor, insurance company, or other entity, provided that the obligor and issuer (if different fromt he obligor) each has knowledge of the request.So Standard & Poor's makes their money by charging fees for those ratings upon request...Click here to read the rest of the Terms and Conditions.
We have also obtained a copy of the Standard & Poor's letter to Ms. Fairbrother, the Town Bookkeeper who, according to the letter, was the town contact person for the request sent to Standard & Poor's:
Pursuant to your request for a Standard & Poor's rating on the above-referenced obligations, we have reviewed the information submitted to us, and subject to the enclosed Terms and Conditions, have assigned a rating of "A".So the rating is merely based on information provided to Standard & Poor's by the town.
However, most important is the Standard & Poor's Rationale for the rating.
For now, we are going to post the rationale without comment other than to say that this blog was supposed to be posted on Sunday. However, after looking at the document we received through our FOIL, we noticed that page 2 of the rationale letter was missing.
We visited the town clerk's office today to find out where the missing page was and Supervisor Reed's secretary said it must have been a mistake; she didn't realize that page 2 was on the back of page 1 of the original document.
Pay particular attention to page 2 of the rationale document and decide whether it was an oversight or perhaps there was information that Supervisor Reed would rather was not disclosed. Was Supervisor Reed's sentence that he used in his Guest Editorial selectively chosen?
We will be commenting further on the rationale letter in a couple of days.