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State puts a freeze on investment pool

The State Board of Administration _ made up of Gov. Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum _ voted at an emergency meeting to put a freeze on the local government investment pool, meaning that cities and counties with money in the $15 billion account cannot take any money out until at least next week.

The move comes in the wake of counties and cities withdrawing large amounts of money in the last two weeks. Since Nov. 14 roughly $10 billion has been withdrawn from the pool, sparked by fears that investment managers had placed money in companies that have been hurt by the housing market slump and credit shortage across the nation.

Coleman Stipanovich, the executive director of the state board, urged Crist, Sink and McCollum to adopt a five-point protection plan for the pool that included pledging money from the Florida Retirement System to back up the pool. But this idea was flatly rejected and Sink said that the state needs third-party advice about how to proceed.

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