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 GFOA Board Members

August 17, 2015

Heather A. Johnston, City Manager, City of Burnsville, Minnesota, became the new president of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) at the association’s annual business meeting on June 2, 2015. During the past year, Johnston served on the Executive Board as president-elect. She has been a member of the Executive Board since 2011. Johnston accepted the gavel from 2014-2015 President Robert W. Eichem, Chief Financial Officer, City of Boulder, Colorado.

Financial Indicators Database

August 17, 2015

Thousands of state and local governments participate each year in the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (Certificate Program). The comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) that they submit to the Certificate Program constitute an incomparable source of information on state and local government finance.

Disaster Readiness and the Finance Officer

August 12, 2015

Planning for a disaster is no easy task. Calamity, man-made or natural, may strike at any time, threatening public safety or property, and recovery can be difficult and costly. The City of Houston, Texas, understands the need for disaster readiness; as recently as September 2008, Hurricane Ike struck the Gulf Coast, causing devastating destruction. The challenges the city faced would have been even greater if its emergency operations plan hadn’t specified the roles and responsibilities the Department of Finance should play in an emergency.

Roanoke Uses Lean/Six Sigma to Save Money and Improve Efficiency

August 5, 2015

Facing a number of challenges – including declining tax revenues, state funding cuts, changes in retirement contributions, and a need for increased capital funding – the City of Roanoke, Virginia, looked to its employees to change the city’s culture and find frontline solutions to everyday problems. It created an atmosphere of individual responsibility and empowerment by equipping employees with the tools needed to effect change in their work spaces. The transition was rooted in a simple question: What must be done to deliver the most value to citizens in the most efficient way?

Can Dynamic Modeling Change the Face of Municipal Treasury Decisions?

July 29, 2015

In the 1970s, the City of San Francisco, California, adopted a business tax system that levied either a payroll tax or a gross receipts tax, whichever was higher. The approach came under fire in the 1990s, however, when a similar business tax system used by the City of Los Angeles was declared unconstitutional, leading San Francisco to abandon the hybrid approach.

August Recess Is Coming – Are You Ready?

July 28, 2015

Throughout the month of August, your congressional delegation typically puts business on hold in Washington, D.C., and heads home. The “August Recess” is designed to give members of Congress and their staff some time to reorient, so it’s one of the very best times for constituents to meet with them. Your advocacy has the most impact during this period because it allows your congressional representation to come face-to-face with the fiscal effects that federal preemption legislation has on localities within their districts.

Oakland County, Michigan, Takes the Long View

July 15, 2015

Most jurisdictions are familiar with the concept of long-term financial planning, which looks at the budget over an extended period of time, rather than over the traditional single-year budget cycle. The approach is often reserved for areas of public-sector finance that lend themselves to long-term thinking, such as capital projects – but that may be changing. Concepts like priority- and performance-based budgeting have highlighted the need for communicating a jurisdiction’s broad goals in the operating budget.

Senate Finance Committee Working Groups Spare Tax Exempt Municipal Bonds; GFOA Leads Education Effort

July 15, 2015

Following up on efforts that began in January 2015, the Senate Finance Committee unveiled the reports of the committee’s bipartisan tax reform working groups, which were assembled more than six months ago to evaluate and identify portions of the federal tax code that are ripe for reform. GFOA led joint discussions with the working groups and its colleagues at the National League of Cities, U.S.

Henrico County’s Path to Resiliency

July 8, 2015

Long before the word “resiliency” was associated with well-managed communities, Henrico County, Virginia, began taking steps to expand the margin between the county’s needs and its available resources. Predicated on a foundation of low taxes rates, physically sound structures, and a focus on service, the county began employing strategies to move it beyond mere sustainability and on to become elastic and agile. Initially, the county’s goals were simple: Provide great services without increasing taxes.

Affordable Care Act Update – Supreme Court Ruling and Current Legislation

July 1, 2015

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that health insurance tax credits are available on 34 federal exchanges. The court’s opinion in King v. Burwell focused largely on the consequences of ruling to the contrary – the destruction of health insurance markets. The technical legal question that was considered in this case was whether a federal exchange is “an exchange established by the state” that may offer tax credits.

GFOA to Lead Free ASPA Webinar on Online Sales Tax Legislation

July 1, 2015

On August 12 at 1 p.m. (Eastern), GFOA’s Mike Bailey, finance director for the City of Redmond, Washington, and Dustin McDonald, director of GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center, will lead a free joint webinar with the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) on federal efforts to require online retails to collect and remit sales taxes to state and local governments. Webinar attendees will get:

Help GFOA Urge Federal Policy Makers to Classify Municipal Securities as High Quality Liquid Assets

July 1, 2015

The GFOA unveiled a new federal advocacy resource center designed to engage members in our efforts to see that municipal securities are classified as high quality liquid assets. The need for this advocacy effort emerged last fall, when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved a rule establishing minimum liquidity requirements for large banking organizations.

In Memoriam: Clark Burrus

June 30, 2015

Clark Burrus, GFOA past-president and former comptroller of the City of Chicago, died June 17, 2015, at the age of 86.

“Clark Burrus was a trailblazer in so many ways and mentor and friend to many, well-respected in both the public and private sectors,” Jeff Esser, GFOA CEO, said.

Burrus started working for the city in 1954 as a field auditor in the Department of Aviation. He was named comptroller in 1974, and during his tenure, Chicago received its first AA rating. He joined First National Bank in 1979 and retired 12 years later.

Register by July 31 to Save on September Training in Sacramento

June 24, 2015

Maximize your training opportunities by signing up for a series of GFOA training seminars on August 31 – September 4 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, California. Save 10 percent on the registration fee when you sign up and pay in full by July 31. Participate in one or more of the following courses:
•    Accounting for Capital Assets ─ August 31
•    Economic Development ─ August 31