Conference Sessions

GFOA’s 113th Annual Conference was held on May 19-22, 2019, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It included more than 75 concurrent sessions featuring leading practitioners, subject matter experts, and top researchers. Each session contained a panel of speakers carefully selected to provide best practice guidance, discussion of current events, case studies, debate, and interactive exercises to cover a complete suite of topics pertinent for finance officers of all types and representing all forms of state and local governments. Information on each session including speakers, bios, handouts, and more is available below.

89 Sessions

Pages


Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm
Room: 
152
Moderator
Director of Finance
Township of Upper St. Clair, PA
Speaker
Finance & Central Services Division Manager
Anoka County, MN
Speaker
Budget Director
School District of Palm Beach County
Speaker
Finance Director
Lake County, IL

Even as governments have utilized online procurement mediums and purchasing card technology in recent years, implementation of a comprehensive P-card function can still be challenging from process, technology, and management perspectives. This session will focus on the pros and cons of P-cards, how to manage the implementation of a P-card program, and tips for developing, training, and enforcing organizational policies on P-card use. The session will also address developing P-card policies, building a relationship with your P-card provider, preventing fraud, integration of P-cards with your ERP system, and managing difficult departments/users.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm
Room: 
408 A
Moderator/Speaker
Finance Director
Summit County
Speaker
Deputy Human Resources Director
Riverside County
Speaker
Deputy Finance Director
County of Fairfax, Virginia

Finance officers and human resource managers provide core administrative services that many organizations split into multiple departments. This can lead to tension, conflict, and inefficiency. Although recognizing that these departments serve various purposes and should be different, they often need to work together. This session will feature views from both finance and human resource professionals on balancing purpose, style, culture, and goals between distinct functions. Speakers will share how they stepped out of their box to understand different stakeholder viewpoints. Techniques that consider leadership styles will be emphasized. Working arrangements, such as service level agreements, policies, and business process strategies for creating a more cohesive delivery of services, will also be addressed. Lessons learned during this session may also apply to any process requiring cooperation among multiple organizations.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 3:35pm to 4:50pm
Room: 
PeTree D
Moderator
Chief Financial Officer
City of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Speaker
Assistant General Manager
City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department (EMD)
Speaker
Finance Director
County of Chatham, GA
Speaker
Disaster/Flood Recovery Manager
City of Longmont, CO

When the disaster itself is over, governments need to help the community recover and rebuild. These efforts focus on both short-term issues such as safety, clean-up, and restoration of infrastructure and government services; and long-term resiliency efforts including rebuilding in ways that enable the community to withstand future storms. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is part of that process and helps communities reduce risk, emergency officials preparefor all hazards, and people get back on their feet after their lives are disrupted by a disaster. Experts presenting this session will discuss topics including how to help your community immediately after an emergency; prioritize areas for rehabilitation and rebuilding; and use the lessons learned to lower the risks and costs of the next disaster.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Room: 
PeTree C
Moderator
Director, Economic Development & Strategic Investments
Travis County, TX
Speaker
Director of Census
Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Speaker
Deputy Regional Director
Los Angeles Region, U.S. Census Bureau
Speaker
Regional Program Manager, Los Angeles
California Complete Count Census 2020

As the federal government gears up for the 2020 decennial census, local units of government also need to be preparing to make sure all residents are counted in what will be the first-ever electronic census. At this session, learn why the census matters for your community and what your organization can do to help ensure a complete count of your jurisdiction. You will gain a better understanding of the intricacies of the census process from representatives of the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, you will learn more about the strategies other local governments are implementing to make sure the census is as accurate as possible.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:15pm
Room: 
152
Moderator
Director of Finance
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Speaker
Deputy County Executive/CIO
Oakland County, MI
Speaker
Leader, Digital Government
Amazon Web Services
Speaker
Director Infrastructure Consulting Services
ClientFirst Technology Consulting

As governments rely more heavily on software vendors to provide essential applications through the cloud, they also need to understand how to manage and understand the risks with cloud applications. Speakers in this session will discuss how to manage ongoing risk through SLA’s, evaluate system and data security, understand SOC reports, and ensure compliance with HIPPA, PCI, and other standards Attendees will understand key lessons-learned to protect your organization from common risks associated with cloud applications. In addition, important considerations when integrating existing on premise solutions to cloud applications will be discussed.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm
Room: 
151
Moderator
Assistant Division Chief, Financial Office
CalPERS
Speaker
Senior Vice President & Actuary
Segal Consulting
Speaker
Senior Research Associate
Center for State & Local Government Excellence
Speaker
Research Manager
National Association of State Retirement Administrators

What is going on in the world of public pensions? This session will highlight trends seen across pension plans and the implications they have on state and local government finance offices. Representatives from pension plans and other industry experts will provide updates on changing standards and requirements and inform finance officers what they should be aware of in the coming year.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 2:40pm to 3:55pm
Room: 
PeTree C
Moderator
Chief Financial Officer (Retired)
City of Portland
Speaker
Principal
Urban3
Speaker
City Manager
City of Lancaster, CA
Speaker
Managing Director
PFM Group Consulting
Speaker
Director of Financial Justice Project
Treasurer & Tax Collector's Office, City & County of San Francisco, CA

Local governments need revenues. However, the way in which those revenues are raised matters. If taxes or fees are seen as unfair or are levied on a weak part of the local economy, then those revenues - and the local government - will not be healthy for the long-run. In this session, you will hear from two California local governments and national experts who have worked extensively on reforming local government revenue systems to both provide adequate revenues for city services and remaining viable over time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 10:20am to 12:00pm
Room: 
403 B
Moderator
Senior Debt Administrator
Office of Budget & Finance, Hennepin County, MN
Speaker
Senior Director and Sector Lead – U.S. Public Finance
S&P Global
Speaker
Senior Managing Director
Kroll Bond Rating Agency
Speaker
Head of U.S. Public Finance
Fitch Ratings
Speaker
Senior Vice President
Moody's Investor Services

Finance directors remain mindful about credit rating agency criteria for state and local governments in this rapidly changing environment. This panel will discuss major components and recent changes in methodologies utilized by rating agencies that are important for finance officers to understand. A review of GFOA’s best practice on engaging with rating agencies will also be highlighted.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Room: 
403 A
Moderator/Speaker
Chief Executive Officer
San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (SBCERA), California
Speaker
Executive Director
Maine Public Employees Retirement System
Speaker
Senior Consultant
The Hyas Group
Speaker
Partner
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

There has been discussion on Defined Contribution (DC) asset allocation and trying to convert them to lifetime income streams. Several plans are looking into re-designing their DC plans. The session begins by examining the current landscape for DC plans, and understanding the fiduciary duties.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Room: 
403 B
Moderator/Speaker
Assistant County Manager / Budget Director
Thurston County, WA
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer
City of Roseville, CA
Speaker
Executive Officer
LA Metro

Referenda are an important tool for funding the business of local government, but they're hardly straightforward. A government's finance officer should play a crucial role in putting referendum proposals in perspective from the fiscal standpoint. Finance officers can provide a thorough analysis about funding that will help the organization put together a referendum that uses taxpayer money effectively and answer residents' concerns about whether the money is really needed and how it will be spent — without any political spin. In this session, finance officers who have extensive experience with referendums will share their tips and ideas to help you make the most of this funding tool.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 3:35pm to 4:50pm
Room: 
403 B
Moderator
Business Services Manager
Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland, OR
Speaker
Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Speaker
Managing Director
Swap Financial Group
Speaker
Director of Finance
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York

Starting in 2022, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) will replace the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as the benchmark for derivative and swap transactions in the municipal market. This session will summarize work done so far by representatives from GFOA to the Alternative Reference Rate Committee (ARRC) on the transition to the alternative rate. Speakers will also discuss the complexities of the conversion process to inform issuers on how they should approach existing and future transactions.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Room: 
403 A
Moderator/Speaker
ERP Project Manager
City of Port Orange
Speaker
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Berkeley
Speaker
Deputy CFO / Director of Financial Planning & Analysis
City of Detroit, MI
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer
Kenosha County - Public Works and Development Services

ERP system projects are some of the most dreaded in local governments. Many local governments that relied on decades-old systems for critical financial and payroll functions are now facing the reality that a replacement is needed. Anyone that has been through one can tell you that ERP replacement projects are complex, tough, and organizationally challenging. Sound project management techniques, such as quality assurance and active management of your vendor, are pathways to success on your ERP project. But it also takes good leadership, a commitment to best practices, and focused work efforts to yield long-term returns on investment. Hear from ERP implementation veterans as they reflect on their ERP projects, share lessons learned, and discuss how to avoid the many pitfalls that have made ERPs so infamous over the years.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 2:40pm to 3:55pm
Room: 
403 B
Moderator/Speaker
Senior Manager, RCC
GFOA

GFOA’s Best Practices in School Budgeting is a budget process framework centered on aligning resources to student outcomes.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Room: 
PeTree C
Moderator
Finance Director
City of Lake Elmo, MN
Speaker
Assistant Director for Training
Assistant Director for Training, Technical Services, GFOA
Speaker
Assistant Director of Publications, Technical Services
GFOA

Implementation of GASB 87 will not only require governments to account for leases differently, it will also necessitate that finance staff gather information on all contracts that could be classified as leases, conduct analysis to determine how they should be reported, and perform required calculations. GFOA’s in-house experts will present some of the basics on how to decode lease terms, determine or infer discount rates, and calculate lease liabilities. GFOA will also demonstrate easy-to-use templates to assist with lease calculations and preparation of required journal entries.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Room: 
403 B
Moderator
Chief Financial Advisor
City of Boulder, CO
Speaker
Principal
Fieldman, Rolapp & Associates, Inc.
Speaker
Debt Manager (retired)
City of Portland, OR

Small governments face numerous hurdles in their debt management programs including in-house subject expertise. This session will focus on effective strategies for issuing debt, hiring outside professionals, meeting disclosure requirements, and utilizing checklists, policies, and procedures to best manage these responsibilities through the lens of a small government.

GFOA's Small Government Forum is a discussion group that identifies and explores topics of interest to governments with populations less than 25,000.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 3:35pm to 4:50pm
Room: 
411
Speaker
Finance Director
Town of Hillsborough, NC
Speaker
Finance Director
City of Golden, CO

Finance officers in small governments face unique challenges not found in larger organizations. This forum will encourage participants to share challenges and also to offer solutions to the unique needs of small governments.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Room: 
411
Speaker
Finance Director
City of Rosenburg
Speaker
Senior Vice President
Strategic Government Resources

Finance officers in small governments face unique challenges not found in larger organizations. This forum will encourage participants to share challenges and also to offer solutions to the unique needs of small governments. Topics to be discussed include recruiting finance staff and managing with limited resources. GFOA's Small Government Forum is a discussion group that identifies and explores topics of interest to governments with populations less than 25,000.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:15pm
Room: 
PeTree D
Moderator
Accountant
City of Peoria
Speaker
Senior Vice President
Simmons Bank
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer/Director of Administrative Services
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Every government finance officer worries about internal and external fraud exposures facing their government. Even the most robust policies and controls may not prepare a government against the fraud of the future. This session will highlight various fraud schemes involving internal and external sources. Attendees will also learn about methods for identifying fraud, and how to have appropriate internal controls to safeguard against such events.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 2:40pm to 3:55pm
Room: 
152
Moderator
CPA, CPFO, Finance Director
City of Ames, Iowa
Speaker
Gehring Group
Palm Beach Gardens
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer
City of Asheville, NC
Speaker
Chief, Health Account Management Division
California Public Employees' Retirement System

Even though the Affordable Care Act was signed into law almost ten years ago, the debate around health care still continues. Despite this, public employers have carried on, exploring strategies to continue providing highly-valued employee benefits while trying to contain costs.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Room: 
PeTree D
Moderator
Chief Performance Officer
City of Austin, TX
Speaker
Director of Certification and Community
What Works Cities
Speaker
Budget Officer
City of Kansas City, MO
Speaker
Public Information Officer
San Bernardino County

Financial sustainability requires people to work together. If people can see they will be better off working together, they will work together. A shared vision is how people see. However, "vision statements" often have the well-deserved reputation of being mere platitudes will little lasting impact. This session will go beyond the buzzwords, consulting jargon, and “pretty pictures” and feature governments that have taken a different approach to community visions and strategic plans that can be used to guide an effective budget process. Speakers will discuss how to involve the community, define vision and goals, and how to transition from long-term strategic objectives to resource allocation.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Room: 
408 A
Speaker
CFO and Assistant Dean
UCLA Law School
Moderator
Assistant City Manager, Director of Finance
City of Webster Groves, MO

Whether the finance office is explaining certain budget expenditures to the council, making a presentation to a rating agency, or training staff on good internal controls, presentation style and delivery skills matter. All too often, good information can get lost or confused by a presenter that doesn't understand the principles of a good presentation. Public speaking and communication experts will discuss how to avoid common mistakes we all make in our presentations. Attend this session to learn practical tips for analyzing your audience, develop and communicating clear messages, and explaining complex topics (like government finance) to non-technical audiences.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 10:20am to 12:00pm
Room: 
PeTree C
Moderator/Speaker
Grants Accounting Supervisor
City of Fort Worth
Speaker
Owner / Director of Governmental Audit Quality
Rehmann, LLC

Intergovernmental grants make up a significant portion of the funds available to many governments, providing resources for some of the most important public services like education, housing, and public safety.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Room: 
150
Moderator/Speaker
Senior Manager
GFOA
Speaker
Riley Center Fellow
College of Charleston

One of GFOA's most important strategic initiatives is to encourage and support finance officers who take on a leadership role within their organization or within the public finance profession. GFOA has a number of opportunities to build leadership skills and enable members to take the next step in their career. This session will highlight GFOA leadership opportunities with its Executive Board and Committees. In addition, GFOA will provide an overview of its Financial Sustainability and Leadership Framework that is intended to provide leadership tools that can be used in your organization. Also, this October, GFOA will be hosting the inaugural GFOA Leadership Academy at the College of Charleston. Current members who have been involved with each program and GFOA staff will be present to answer questions and discuss how you can get more involved with the organization and build critical leadership skills.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm
Room: 
150
Moderator
Director
Public Financial Management (PFM), Inc.
Speaker
Debt Manager
City of Portland
Speaker
Budget Manager
Department of Administration, Waukesha County, WI
Speaker
Interim Finance Director
City of Saint Paul, MN
Speaker
Financial Analyst, Office of Public Finance
City and County of San Francisco, CA

GFOA will host a networking session designed specifically for governments that have achieved an AAA rating. This session will allow delegates to discuss the unique challenges in achieving and maintaining that esteemed rating.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Room: 
151
Moderator
Finance Director/Tax Commissioner
Village of Indian Hill
Speaker
Vice President of Sales
Paymentus
Speaker
Treasurer
St. Louis County, MO

As electronic payment technology grows and changes, citizens will increasingly expect their governments to accept payments from a broad spectrum of platforms. The expansion of traditional online payment methods as well as new options like virtual wallets, mobile apps, self-service devices, and other payment applications, requires finance officers to understand both the benefits and limitations of each and to make decisions that balance government interests and customer service demands of the public. Governments must also weigh the costs associated with accepting payments via new technologies and accurately assess the viability of new technologies long term. This session will explore how governments can better utilize electronic payment portals, discuss the necessary internal controls and systems to accept different electronic payments, detail the current technology landscape and usage trends, and highlight electronic receivables policies and procedures for local governments.