United States Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios said Aug. 16 that she
is unaware of any looming appointment to the position of director of
the United States Mint.
Rios addressed a number of topics during a collectors forum during
the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in
Concerning the vacant presidentially appointed U.S. Mint
director’s position, Rios said she is not aware of anyone currently
under consideration to be nominated to a five-year term. Rios said
legislation under consideration that would have made the Mint
director’s job a career post stalled.
The position of Mint director has been empty since January, when
Edmund C. Moy, appointed to the post by President George W. Bush.
President Barack Obama has not made an appointment to the position.
Deputy Mint Director Richard Peterson is bearing the duties of
Mint director currently, and Chief of Staff Al Runnels, day-to-day
operations. Peterson, who had been the Mint’s director of
manufacturing, was named deputy Mint director and acting Mint director
by Rios in January following the resignation of Moy as Mint director.
A short time later, Runnels was named acting deputy Mint director by Rios.
On another issue, Rios said it is not likely that the new Series
2009 $100 Federal Reserve notes will be released anytime during
calendar year 2011. Rios said the Treasury Department and Federal
Reserve are coordinating efforts to resolve issues that have delayed
the $100 note’s release since the release of the notes was originally
scheduled for February 2011.
Rios said soon after the newly redesigned Series 2009 notes were
unveiled to the public in April 2010, notes printed during preliminary
production were exhibiting creasing, and production was suspended.
Since then, extensive testing during the printing of additional notes
has been conducted to solve the creasing problem, but so far, a fix
has not yet been determined.
Rios said regular production of the notes is expected to be
resumed shortly, and sufficient notes would have to be produced before
the notes could be introduced. Rios said it is up to the Federal
Reserve to determine when the $100 notes will officially be released
into general circulation.
The Federal Reserve recently placed a record order for currency
with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said Rios, who has
oversight over the BEP as well as the U.S. Mint. She said the order
represents the highest order level in five years. Rios said more than
two-thirds of currency production is for foreign distribution.
During the collectors forum, Rios also answered questions on a
variety of subjects.
Rios said cash is king, and there’s no immediate move to replace
paper currency or coins with other forms of money.
As for Presidential dollars, production and distribution into
circulation will continue unless Congress determines otherwise.
Federal Reserve inventories of the Presidential dollars total more
than 1.2 billion pieces, with production far outstripping demand.
However, the United States Mint is required to strike both
Presidential dollars and Native American dollars. Congress is weighing
multiple pieces of legislation that would suspend or greatly reduce
production of Presidential dollars until inventories are lowered to
Rios said it is also up to Congress whether to withdraw the $1
Federal Reserve note from circulation. Other nations with dollar coin
equivalents withdrew the paper money equivalents after the coins were
introduced into circulation. Rios said the American public should have
the option as to which form of the $1 denomination they choose to use.
She said she prefers using cash — both coins and notes — instead of
Rios said Peterson and Larry Felix, BEP director, report directly
Peterson could serve officially as acting Mint director for only a
maximum of 210 days, which expired in early August.
Rios assured those attending the collectors forum that the
nation’s gold reserves are safe and sound, with most held at the Fort
Knox Gold Bullion Depository in Kentucky. Roughly 5 percent is stored
at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a small portion is housed
at the Denver Mint. She said the gold reserves are audited annually.
She said she has seen the physical metal at the three locations and
said, “it is real.”
Rios said that as a child, she collected pre-1959 Lincoln cents.
She said she’s encouraged her children with the collecting of the 50
State quarter dollars, and America the Beautiful quarter dollars.
Rios said she initially had no interest in becoming part of the
Obama presidential administration, although she had been part of
President Obama’s transition team. After that position, she returned
to her investment management job in San Francisco, but she said she
was contacted once again about an administration position. She said
she then specifically requested the treasurer’s post because of its
rich history and tradition. As treasurer, she said, in addition to
Mint and BEP oversight, she is also senior adviser to Treasury
Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on community development. ■