Woody gives Morgan Keegan the boot

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By Damon Lawrence

Morgan Keegan’s relationship with Roane County could become nonexistent under Ron Woody’s administration.

The new county executive said he doesn’t plan to seek financial advice from the company.  

“They will not be our financial advisers,” Woody said.

That represents a change in direction for the county, which has sought the company’s advice on financial matters for years.

“I think we can do most of that ourselves,” Woody said. “I think we have the expertise.”

Morgan Keegan is headquartered in Memphis. The company has offices throughout the Southeast, including Knoxville.

The company was accused of misleading investors by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia in July 2009.

Earlier this year, the Securities Division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance announced that it had commenced an administrative action against Morgan Keegan.

The department said that step came after other state and federal regulators filed similar actions.   

Morgan Keegan vowed to fight the charges, calling them meritless and based on erroneous hindsight analysis.

Woody, who has been in office for a little more than a month, cited his own credentials and those of new budget director Kaley Walker as reasons why the county doesn’t need to seek financial advice from Morgan Keegan.  

“I think we’ll have at least the expertise that the finance people have, and we’ll work with the state officials to make sure we’re doing it right,” Woody said.    

Walker has an MBA with a specialization in finance. Woody is a certified government financial manager and a certified school business administra-

During his time as a consultant with the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service, Woody authored a publication on county debt management.  

“We’ll go by that book,” he said.

During his campaign for county executive, Woody said he planned to put together a debt management plan for the county.

That’s still a goal he’s aiming for.

“Philosophically, we need to keep these notes, bonds and anything we sell simple, so we can understand them, we can manage them,” Woody said.

“We will have a debt management plan in six or eight months.”