State/Provincial Update - June 29, 2016

Annual Meeting Recap

Thank you to all who participated in the state/provincial representatives and presidents meeting that took place on Saturday, May 21, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Click here for a list of the meeting’s attendees compiled from the sign-in sheets. If you attended the meeting but are not on the list, please e-mail us so that we may update the list.

  • GFOA’s Executive Director Jeffrey Esser introduced GFOA President-Elect Marc Gonzales. Gonzales expressed his enthusiasm for working together with state and provincial associations over the coming year. He posed the following question to the meeting’s attendees about the role of presidents and representatives working with GFOA: “What can GFOA do for State/Provincial Presidents and Representatives throughout the year” and “What can State/Provincial Presidents and Representatives do for GFOA?”

  • Stephen Gauthier, Director of GFOA’s Technical Services Center, talked about GFOA’s 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. Attaining certification is the mark of excellence in 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 647 individuals who have received the CPFO designation. CPFO candidates receive a 50 percent discount on GFOA publications that are used to study for the CPFO exams. The next CPFO exams will be available in the summer and fall at locations across the United States. Click here for more information about upcoming exam dates and the CPFO Program. 

    Gauthier also encouraged attendees to pick up a copy of GFOA’s practical and latest publication, An Elected Official’s Guide: Interpreting Local Government Financial Statements — How to Avoid 25 Common Mistakes. The publication is available in both e-book and print form. Read about the publication and access an order form. Click here to purchase online. For information about quantity discounts, e-mail GFOA Publications.

    Lastly, Gauthier spoke about GFOA’s new Budget Awards Program for School Districts and Community Colleges.

  • Emily Brock, Director of GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center, provided a Washington update on Tax Reform: Tax Exempt Bonds and State/Local Deductibility, Pensions and Pre-emption, and Grassroots advocacy. She encouraged attendees to share the latest update to GFOA’s state/provincial monthly memorandum with their membership as well as to pay close attention to the articles included in GFOA’s weekly e-Newsletter and on GFOA’s Federal Government Relations webpage for the latest information on how federal legislation is affecting state and local governments. (Click here to access the June 2016 Washington Update.) Emily announced that she also would be posting letter templates for state contacts to use to write to their congressman to the webpage.

    As follow up to a question posed during the meeting about  who makes up the Municipal Finance Caucus, please see the following list of members:
    • Terri Sewell (D-7th-Alabama)
    • Grace Napolitano (D-32nd-California)
    • Mark Takano (D-41st-California)
    • Randy Hultgren (R-14th-Illinois)
    • Luke Messer (R-6th-Indiana)
    • Lynn Jenkins (R-2nd-Kansas)
    • Bruce Poliquin (R-2nd-Maine)
    • Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2nd-Maryland)
    • Richard Neal (D-1st-Massachusetts)
    • Tim Walz (D-1st-Minnesota)
    • Dan Kildee (D-5th-Michigan)
    • Tom MacArthur (R-3rd-New Jersey)
    • Steve Stivers (R-15th-Ohio)
    • Derek Kilmer (D-6th-Washington)
    • John Larson (D-2nd-Washington)
    • Glenn Grothman (R-6th-Wisconsin)
    • Ron Kind (D-3rd-Wisconsin)

  • Mike Mucha, GFOA’s Deputy Director and Director of Research and Consulting, discussed GFOA’s forthcoming “State and Provincial Communities Forum,” where associations will be able to exchange ideas between other associations and with the GFOA. Users will be able to use their GFOA username and password to access the forum. Forums will be presented by category and users may enter a discussion topic within each category. Documents may also be shared for comment. Keep watch for a general release announcement soon!

At the conclusion of the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to participate and share ideas in the following roundtable discussions: “Do you have working relationships with neighboring finance officers associations in your geographic region?” “What is the most commonly expressed need you hear about from your state/regional association members?” and “Would some assistance in establishing protocols for presenting GFOA’s Awards locally on behalf of state or regional associations be of interest to you?”

 

Continue the Discussion from the Annual Conference

To download this year’s presentation materials, click on the specific session title here and scroll down on the page.

If you missed any sessions from the annual conference, GFOA has audio recorded each session so you will be able to bring the conference to your office. The audio recordings offer a unique learning opportunity regardless of whether you attended the Toronto conference. The purchased session recordings can be downloaded from GFOA’s website. Click here to access the order form. Order online.

 

Save the Date!

GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference will take place May 21−24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Registration will open in the fall. The call for session topics is open - click here to access a submission form.

 

5 Executive Board Members Elected

Marc Gonzales, director, Department of Finance, Clackamas County, Oregon, became GFOA’s new president at the association’s annual business meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 24, 2016. Gonzales accepted the gavel from 2015−2016 President Heather A. Johnston, city manager, City of Burnsville, Minnesota. Also at the business meeting, the association’s members elected a new GFOA president-elect and five new members-at-large, who will each serve a three-year term beginning immediately.

President-elect

  • Patrick J. McCoy, Director of Finance, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York

Members-at-large

  • Gary Donaldson, CTP, Chief Financial Officer, Orange County, North Carolina
  • Marion M. Gee, Director of Finance, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri
  • Merrill S. King, Finance Director, City of Minnetonka, Minnesota
  • James M. Nicholson, Director of Finance, City of Pataskala, Ohio
  • Dawn L. Lang, Management Services Director, City of Chandler, Arizona

 

GFOA Awards 2016 Scholarships

The GFOA Scholarship Committee met this spring to award the 2016 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in state and local government. Congratulations to all the recipients.

The recipient of the $13,000 Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship was Bo Daniel Weichel, who will graduate in December 2016 with a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina. The scholarship is funded by the Girard Miller Foundation.

The recipients of the two awards for the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship each received an $8,000 award funded by the Government Finance Officers Association. They were:

  • Jean Iannuzzi, who graduated in May with a Master of Science degree in accounting from Albertus Magnus College.
  • Cassandra J. Roush, who will graduate in September 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Phoenix.

The recipient of the $8,000 Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship was Angela G. Barner, who will graduate in the spring of 2017 with a Master of Science degree in accounting from the Keller Graduate School of Management-DeVry University. The scholarship is funded by Tyler Technologies.

The recipients of the four awards for the Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship each received an $8,000 award funded by the Government Finance Officers Association Scholarship Reserve. They were:

  • Kaye M. Matucheski, who graduated in May with a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin.
  • Shonna Neary, who will graduate in May 2019 with a Master’s degree in business administration from Lakeland College.
  • Scott Smith, who will graduate in August 2016 with a Master’s degree in business administration from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.
  • Danielle Denise Young, who graduated in May with a Master’s degree in public administration from the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University.

If you have questions about GFOA’s Scholarship program, please contact Steven A. Solomon or Peg Hartnett.

 

2016 Awards for Excellence in Government Finance Winners

GFOA announced the winners of its 2016 Awards for Excellence in Government Finance at the GFOA’s annual conference in Toronto on May 24. This year’s winning entries of the Awards for Excellence encompass such work in areas of management and service delivery, and pensions and benefits:

  • City of Baltimore, Maryland: Aligning Strategic Planning, Outcome Budgeting and CitiStat

    The City of Baltimore recently developed OutcomeStat to align the city’s outcome budgeting and CitiStat performance data tracking system processes, while adding a strategic planning component that engages more external city partners. The four primary goals of OutcomeStat include: creating a strategic plan structured around priority outcomes and measurable indicators; better aligning existing performance management system to ensure consistency; engaging community stakeholders and outside partners in an ongoing, collaborative effort; and identifying 5-year targets for each indicator, with action plans for achieving those targets. OutcomeStat uses an intuitive structure and overall low level of complexity to integrate the previously separate budgeting and CitiStat data and performance indicators on a broad and ongoing basis, providing better overall transparency.

    Contact: Andrew Kleine, Budget Director, City of Baltimore, Maryland Andrew.Kleine@baltimorecity.gov

  • California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS): A Balanced Approach to Risk Mitigation

    CalPERS developed a funding risk mitigation concept to help reduce the pension fund’s unfunded liability, providing greater predictability of contribution rates, along with lower volatility. Once the concept was developed – by a broad array of CalPERS staff and also including extensive stakeholder outreach – the Funding Risk Mitigation Policy was formally adopted to increase the long-term sustainability of pension benefits for CalPERS members. The policy is based on an integrated asset liability management framework designed to reduce risk and volatility in the pension system by incrementally lowering the discount rate in years of good investment returns and adjusting the asset allocation to account for the new discount rate.

    Contact: Cheryl Eason, Chief Financial Officer, California Public Employees’ Retirement System
    Cheryl.eason@calpers.ca.gov

 

Minneapolis Uses Web-Based Financial Transparency Tools

One of the changes the City of Minneapolis made after its 2013 mayoral election was adding a new strategic goal: creating a better connection to the community it served. To this end, the city increased its financial transparency, moving beyond the 500-page budget document it had published in PDF format to online tools that presented information in a clear, user-friendly way.

Under the old presentation method, the numbers made sense to finance professionals but were largely a mystery to many others. And although the PDF document technically achieved the goal of making city finances available to the public, many users sought further clarity and flexibility. To address this disconnect, the city contracted with a public-sector technology company to develop a web-based financial visualization tool that would make it easier for the broader public to access and understand the city’s finances. The financial transparency platform is supported by a video tutorial and includes links to interactive chars and grafts, and it filters data by fund and program, showing how resources are allocated.

In creating the new platform, the city wanted to go beyond a “data dump” to supplying citizens with meaningful information – and it was also important to explain city finances within city government, since the finance office often interpreted financial data for elected officials and others within the organization. While this was something the department was certainly equipped to do, preparing such information often drew staff away from more value-added tasks. Another consideration was the volume of Minnesota Data Practices Act requests – official and legally binding inquiries, along with more basic inquiries from curious citizens and journalists.

Championed by the city’s finance team and an engaged city councilman, a financial data visualization website was built alongside a broader open data initiative undertaken by the city. The city council and the new administration unanimously approved the project, which cost $25,000. The platform had more than 500 unique visitors in the first month, and the city anticipates even stronger traffic when the city’s first annual budget is posted to the site.

More information on financial data visualization tools is available at the city’s website.

Related Publications:

Related Best Practices:

New Certified Public Finance Officers (CPFOs)

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

  • Elena Adair, Finance Director, Alameda, California
  • Gayle Carolus, Assistant Treasurer, Town of East Windsor, Connecticut
  • Julie Ciesla, Finance Director, Itasca, Illinois
  • Jonathan Edwards, Senior Internal Auditor, La Crosse County, Wisconsin
  • Jennifer Evans, City Clerk/ Finance Officer, Cassville, Missouri
  • Kelly Grinnell, Finance Director, Victoria, Minnesota
  • Timothy Jones, Senior Auditor, California State Auditor’s Office
  • Norman Kildow, Assistant Controller, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Corey Ladick, Comptroller-Treasurer, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
  • Dongmei Li, Financial Program Manager, Montgomery County Government – Montgomery County Employee Retirement Plan
  • Kimberly Lord, Treasurer, Town of East Windsor, Connecticut
  • Christopher Pietsch, Director of Finance, Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Mubeen Qader, Budget Analyst II, Richmond, California
  • Tomislav Raguz, Director of Finance, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  • Luning Christina Tang, Sr. Administrative Anaylst, Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency
  • Kenton Tsoodle, Assistant Finance Director, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Ray Waaraniemi, Investment Compliance Administrator, Minneapolis, Minneapolis


NEW Click here for a listing of all active CPFOs that is now searchable by state!

GFOA Awards Program Update

GFOA encourages and recognizes excellence in financial reporting, budgeting, and financial management by granting awards to those governments that meet program standards. Below is latest program update:

  • Entities that have received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the First Time
    Congratulations to the following entities that have received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the first time:

Merced Irrigation District

CA

Worth Park District

IL

Crest Hill

IL

Addison Fire Protection District #1

IL

Grayslake

IL

Damascus

OR

Community High School District 155

IL

Dinwiddie County

VA

Herriman

UT

Greenwood School District 50

SC

Western Tidewater Regional Jail

VA

Aldine Independent School District

TX

Allen Independent School District

TX

White Pine County

NV

Gallatin Airport Authority

MT

Marin Transit

CA

California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority

CA

Laguna Woods

CA

Jersey City Housing Authority

NJ

City of Fountain Valley

CA

Kings Park Central School District

NY

Bloomingdale Fire Protection District #1

IL

Biltmore Forest

NC

Burlington

MA

Fillmore

CA

Red Bluff

CA

Trumbull

CT

Washington County

TN

Castro Valley Sanitary District

CA

Happy Valley

OR

Rhode Island Health & Educational Building Corporation

RI

Camrosa Water District

CA

North Central Regional Transit District

NM

Pinal County Community College District (Central Arizona College)

AZ

Independence

OR

Kimberly Heights Sanitary District

IL

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

CA

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. Over 4,000 governments participate in the program each year which include all types (general purpose and special purpose) and all sizes.

It’s easy to participate! Once the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) is prepared, submit it along with a completed application. The normal submission deadline is six months following the government’s fiscal year end. Requests to extend the deadline may be made one month at a time as a result of various factors (e.g., employee turnover, implementation of major pronouncements, audit issues, etc.). 

Due date to submit December 31, 2015, fiscal year ended reports to the CAFR Program is June 30, 2016. 

Extensions are available if you are not able to meet the normal submission deadline.  You can request an extension by e-mailing the CAFR Program.

Click here for information if you are interested in participating in the CAFR Program or serving as a reviewer.

  • GFOA Broadens Scope of Cash Basis Award Program to Encompass Regulatory Reporting

In a further effort to enhance the quality of financial reporting by small governments, GFOA has expanded the scope of its Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Financial Reports to include reports prepared on a state-mandated regulatory basis. GFOA’s goal is to improve the transparency of such reports by the inclusion of certain additional information, such as a letter of transmittal, information on individual funds, budgetary comparisons, and limited information on five-year financial trends. This change will take effect starting with reports for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2016. If you have any questions about participating in the program, please contact Steven A. Solomon, Deputy Director of the Technical Services Center at GFOA, at (312) 977-9700 or e-mail.

  • GFOA’s Latest Budget Awards Program Winners

View list of governments in your state that earned the Budget Award in April 2016 and May 2016. 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.

  • Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award Program First-Time Winners

GFOA’s Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) Program recognizes individual governments that successfully produce high quality annual reports which are specifically designed to be easily accessible and understandable to the general public and other interested parties.

            Congratulations to the following governments for achieving the first time Award:

          • Arapahoe County School District Number Six, Colorado
          • City of Sanford, North Carolina
          • State of Minnesota

Read more about the PAFR Program or e-mail us.

 

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 Natalie Laudadio.

Help Us Keep Our State/Provincial Officer Directory 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. Any changes can be e-mailed to Kate Southard.