State/Provincial Update - January 27, 2016

Happy New Year!

It’s That Time of Year Again!

We would like to make sure that our records are up-to-date. If you have not done so yet, please review the State/Provincial Officer Directory we have on file and let us know if you have any changes. This information can be e-mailed to Kate Southard.


Annual Conference Update

Session descriptions for GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference, Sharing Solutions and Strategies, May 22-25, 2016, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, are now posted on GFOA’s website.

GFOA’s state and provincial representatives and presidents are entitled to a special discounted registration fee of $380. To receive the discount, submit a conference registration form and write “State/Provincial GFOA President or Representative” on the form.

Please let your members know about the following ways to save on the registration fee:

  • Delegates will receive an early discounted registration fee on the conferenceif theyregister by tomorrow, January 28. They can also save an additional 10 percent when three or more colleagues submit their registration forms together.
  • GFOA government members who have not previously attended GFOA’s Annual Conference may apply for the first-time annual conference attendee scholarships. Fifty scholarships will be awarded per state or province in the amount of the full-conference registration fee to first-time conference attendees who are GFOA active government members. To learn more about this opportunity and to apply for the scholarship, please e-mail First Annual Conference.

Hotel rooms for the conference can be reserved through GFOA’s official housing company, onPeak. OnPeak is the ONLY official housing company for this event and will not contact attendees directly to make reservations. Click here to reserve your housing online or to download a hotel reservation form to e-mail, fax, or mail to onPeak.

The GFOA’s state and provincial representatives and presidents meeting will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (time and room number TBA). Please e-mail any suggested topics for roundtable discussions to add to the meeting’s agenda to Natalie Laudadio. A finalized agenda will be distributed before the meeting. Last year’s discussions covered the following topics:

  • Communication and networking between chapters between conferences
  • Effective partnering with local educational institutions to raise awareness of career opportunities in the field of public finance
  • Successful tools for member communications

If you have any questions about the conference, contact GFOA.

Remember: All attendees traveling to Toronto from the United States will need a passport. Apply or renew yours today. Those driving to Toronto will need a US passport, passport card, enhanced driver’s license, Trusted Traveler Program card (Nexus, Sentri, Fast), US Military ID card when on official orders, US merchant mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business, or form I-872 American Indian Card to get back into the United States. Click here for more information.


Maximize your Training Opportunities by Registering for GFOA’s Immersion Courses in Chicago

The GFOA offers two immersion courses at its offices in Chicago, Illinois:

  • The Budget Analyst Training Academy from March 15 to 18, 2016. Click here to read more and to view the list of course presenters. Earn 30 CPE credits with your participation. Please note the new course times: Tuesday, 10:30 am–4:30 pm, and Wednesday through Friday, 8:30 am–4:30 pm.

Register! Brochure, including details on hotel and registration form / Register online

  • The Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting from April 11 to 15, 2016. Click here to read more and to view the list of course presenters. Earn 32 CPE credits with your participation.
    Register! Brochure, including details on hotel and registration form / Register online.

If you have any questions on training, contact GFOA.


Financing Resilient Infrastructure

Most public finance professionals are carefully studying environmental and sustainability questions, but “getting it right” isn’t easy. Real-world, cost-first thinking means that prioritizing sustainability and resiliency in infrastructure will always be a challenge. Finance officers are generally accustomed to determining financial costs and benefits for capital projects rather than accounting for a project’s social and environmental impact. As a result, finance officers face hurdles when trying to measure such factors related to these issues using common standards and metrics that are well understood by the public.

The traditional approach to addressing infrastructure cost is simple: Focus on immediate costs and build for the lowest price possible. This approach accounts for the financial constraints many communities face, but most organizations realize that it is short-sighted. As natural and economic shocks force governments to become more resilient, many are looking for ways to move their infrastructure projects beyond cost-only or cost-first thinking. This includes increased public involvement, which has become increasingly important over the past few decades – although quantifying its value to a large project remains challenging. How does a government determine the appropriate level of public involvement, or how citizen participation should be viewed when compared to other factors? Environmental impact mitigation often presents similar challenges, as well as emerging concerns about the social and economic effects of infrastructure projects of all sizes.

One government that has begun to address these issues is Lambton Shores, Ontario. The city has adopted the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, pioneered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure in conjunction with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University. The system is a free self-assessment tool that can help governments determine the social, environmental, economic, and public involvement effects of their infrastructure projects. It is simple in concept and can be used for projects of all types, sizes, and complexity. Professional training is also available. The system seeks to account for factors that have traditionally been classified as unquantifiable – for example, social impact (how a project might affect the social fabric of a community) is often either excluded from infrastructure project calculations or considered separately because it is so difficult to quantify. And when social impact has been included, the lack of universal standards makes its importance hard to gauge.

However, large international infrastructure firms are learning about and implementing the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, adding clarity and legitimacy to previously murky considerations. State and local governments are also starting to use this tool, including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the New York City Water Agency, and jurisdictions in Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and Texas.

For more information on the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, click here.

Related Publications:

Related Best Practices:


Certified Public Finance Officers (CPFO) Program

The CPFO Program is a broad educational self-study program designed to verify knowledge in the disciplines of government finance. To earn the CPFO designation, candidates must pass a series of five examinations covering the major disciplines of public finance. There are now 630 individuals who have received the CPFO designation.

Congratulations to the following individuals who recently achieved the CPFO designation:

  • Nancy Berns, Senior Accountant, Water District No 1 of Johnson County, Kansas
  • Judith Dinkel, Accounting Manager, Douglas County, Colorado
  • Matt Efird, Budget Administrator, Greenville, South Carolina
  • Deirdre Finneran, Deputy Finance Director, County of Fairfax, Virginia
  • Dalin Hackett, Treasurer, Midvale City, Utah
  • Laurie Harvey, Director of Administrative Services, Midvale City, Utah
  • Andrew Hoffman, Sr. Financial Analyst, Water One, Kansas
  • Thomas Lannom, Revenue Division Director, Portland, Oregon
  • Jeremy Morgan, Accountant 2, Salem, Oregon
  • Jonathon Munch, Director of Finance, Fauquier County Government & Public Schools, Virginia
  • Barbara Rua, Financial Analyst, Town of West Hartford, Connecticut
  • Dominique Simmons, Finance Manager, El Paso County, Colorado
  • Lori Van Curen, Sr. Accountant, Roanoke Higher Education Authority, Virginia

The next CPFO exams will be available in the spring at locations across the United States. Click here for more information about the exams and the Certification Program.


GFOA’s latest Budget Awards Program winners

Attached is a list of governments in your state that earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award in November 2015. Budgets that are initial winners of this award are identified by the phrase “FIRST-TIME WINNER.”

The GFOA encourages you to contact each of the first-time award winners and to offer to arrange a formal presentation of the award. If you have any questions regarding the award winners, please contact Kathie Schultz, Senior Program Associate, GFOA Technical Services Center.


Do you have an upcoming annual conference?

If so, please fill out the “GFOA Promotional Items” form, checking off any materials you are interested in receiving for your upcoming annual conference. The form is interactive, so you can type and save your changes directly to the document. Submit the completed form at least two months before your event to Kate Southard. If your state or provincial association has any new educational or mentor programs to promote or events at your annual conference to connect fellow finance officers and advance the profession, we will share the information in this monthly memorandum. Please send a brief description of your program to Kate Southard.  

Washington Update

Read the latest Washington Update prepared by our Federal Liaison Center in Washington, DC. More information may also be found on the Federal Government Relations section of GFOA’s website.