GFOA is always on the lookout for news items that will be useful for finance professionals, research that might help you do your job better, and legal and regulatory updates you need to know about. Check the GFOA news page for the updates and any relevant GFOA announcements, and see the GFOA Newsletter archive for back issues of our weekly electronic newsletter.

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New Executive Board Elected

May 24, 2016

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.


School Districts Discuss Aligning Resources with Student Achievement Goals

May 23, 2016

For the second year in a row, GFOA hosted a luncheon for school districts to discuss GFOA’s best practices in budgeting for school districts. This year’s event featured four school districts – Portland Public Schools, Dayton City Public Schools, Upper Moreland Township School District, and Atlanta Public Schools – that have been on the journey toward optimizing the alignment between their limited resources and their student achievement goals.

Land Use Policy: Do the Math!

May 23, 2016

Have you considered how you can use data to look at your city in a different way – to find out what it’s really worth? In his Monday conference presentation, “The Financial Impacts of Land Use Policy,” Joe Minicozzi, principle of Urban3, a consulting firm created by a real estate developer, discussed the importance of data modeling to determine your real potential for increasing tax revenues. His advice is, in short, “Do the math!”

Next Generation of Public Finance Officers Takes Broad Outlook

May 23, 2016

At GFOA’s Tuesday afternoon “Next Generation Roundtable” discussion, people in the early stages of a career in public finance exchanged views on a variety of topics.

For example, when it came to how they got into public finance, there was a diverse range of experiences. For some participants, it was a public administration degree program, while others came from private-sector employers (and were, in fact, surprised to learn that public finance was a viable career path).

Helping Citizens Extract Information from Data

May 22, 2016

The general public has neither the time nor the technical expertise for using highly detailed financial information—they need guidance on how to extract information from your data. For example, terms that are commonplace for government finance officers are often completely foreign to most citizens. Therefore, the titles, labels, and other descriptors picked up from your financial system may need to be changed to more citizen-friendly terminology, according to "Helping Citizens Extract Information from Data," as session at GFOA's May 2016 annual conference in Toronto.

Understanding the Flaw of Averages

May 22, 2016

Central to understanding risk is a concept called the “flaw of averages”—the idea that a single average number obscures the variation in the data. In “A Financially Resilient Organization is a Risk-Aware Organization,” a session at today’s annual conference in Toronto, Process Omprovement Specialist with the City and County of Denver's Peak Performance Initiative Melissa Files and Executive Director of Sam Savage discussed uncertainty in financial planning.

Austin and San Francisco Navigate the Sharing Economy

May 22, 2016

The “sharing economy” is a business model that allows providers and consumers to share resources and services, from housing to vehicles and more. Well-known examples include Uber and AirBnB. Cities like Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California, are at the forefront of the challenge that sharing economy business poses to traditional municipal regulation and taxing regimes.

GFOA Encourages Members to Contact the IRS

May 20, 2016

On Friday, September 20, GFOA filed comments to the IRS on Proposed Regulations that would redefine Political Subdivisions for the purposes of tax exempt bonds. The Proposed Regulations set forth a new, three-part federal test to define political subdivisions qualified to issue tax-exempt debt. Every entity would have to meet all three tests to be considered a political subdivision.

A Somewhat New Strategy: Marketplace Fairness and a Case for the SCOTUS

May 12, 2016

GFOA, along with Big Seven members of the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC), have filed amicus briefs in every stage of Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, a Colorado law requiring remote sellers to provide Colorado purchasers with an annual summary of their purchases and to send the same information to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Each amicus brief has cited the devastating impact that the 1992 Quill Corp. v.

GFOA Alert: Bank Loan Disclosure

May 12, 2016

Over the past five years, the municipal securities market has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of bank loans by municipal issuers as a tool to finance capital improvements as well as refund outstanding debt. Bank loans, which may be structured with fixed or variable interest rates and with defined maturities or flexible payment provisions, may offer a number of potential advantages over a public offering of municipal securities.

Pension Resource Center Added to Federal Government Relations Page

May 12, 2016

Continued scrutiny of state and local government retirement plans is expected to last into 2016. GFOA will continue to educate members of Congress about the true fiscal condition of public pension systems, consider whether proposed initiatives provide the flexibility the public sector needs to provide retirement security to its employees, and oppose congressional proposals that undermine state and local governments’ authority to effectively govern and finance their pension plans.

GFOA Awards Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship

April 25, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. The GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments. Among the ways GFOA accomplishes its mission is through education, training, and leadership.

The recipients of the two awards for the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship are Jean Iannuzzi and Cassandra J. Roush. Each will receive $8,000.

GFOA Awards 2016 Scholarships

April 25, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments and the awarding of scholarships is one of the ways the GFOA accomplishes its mission.

Keynote Speakers to Highlight GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference in Toronto

April 22, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) 110th Annual Conference, Sharing Solutions and Strategies, will be held May 22─25, 2016, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The keynote speakers will be Bruce Tulgan, who will speak during the opening general session, and Richard Florida, who will address delegates during the general session.

GFOA Awards Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

April 22, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments. Among the ways GFOA accomplishes its mission is through education, training, and leadership.

The recipients of the four awards for the Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship are Kaye M. Matucheski, Shonna Neary, Scott Smith, and Danielle Denise Young. Each will receive $8,000.

Federal Reserve Approves Restrictive Rule on High Quality Liquid Assets

April 7, 2016

On April 1, 2016, the Federal Reserve Board announced that it will adopt a final rule that would classify a very limited number of investment-grade, liquid, and readily marketable municipal securities as high quality liquid assets (HQLA). The Federal Reserve’s action follows its May 2015 to amend the 2014 Liquidity Coverage Ratio rule, which classifies foreign sovereign debt securities as HQLA while excluding investment-grade municipal securities in any of the acceptable investment categories for banks to meet new liquidity standards.

MSRB Requests Comments on Regulatory Approach to Bank Loan Disclosure

April 7, 2016

On March 28, 2016, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) announced that it is seeking public comment on a regulatory approach that would require municipal advisors to disclose information about the bank loans and direct purchases of their municipal entity clients to the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website. GFOA has significant concerns with this proposal, including the following:

House Introduces Public Employee Pension Transparency Act Bill

March 24, 2016

On March 22, Devin Nunes (CA-22) introduced the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (PEPTA), HR 4822. This legislation is identical to previously proposed and ultimately unsuccessful versions of PEPTA introduced in the last two sessions of Congress. The act would require sponsors of state and local defined benefit plans to report plan liabilities to the Secretary of the Treasury annually in order to retain their federal tax-exempt bond status.