2023 Annual Conference Sessions: Rethinking Budgeting
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Sessions for Sunday, May 21
Behind the Scenes: Practical Lessons Learned in Budgeting for Equity
Sessions for Monday, May 22
The Budget Officer as Decision Architect: Designing the Decision Making Environment
Government leaders make decisions for a living. With good decision-making, they can greatly improve the lives of their constituents and further their own careers. But decision-making is messy. It is often done by groups, so there are conflicting points of view. It is usually time constrained, so there isn’t time to consider everything. There is always uncertainty, usually more than we realize. And it is done by humans, so it comes with the myriad well-documented psychological biases. Finance officers can help their organization make better decisions by "architecting" the decision-making environment. In this session, we will discuss the key skills of a decision-architect, how finance officers have used them, and how you can build them.
Sessions for Tuesday, May 23
Politics in Budgeting: Don't Hate the Player, Don't Hate the Game, Change the Game
Budgeting is a political process. "Politics" is often considered a dirty word in our profession, but the finance officer needs to not just survive a political environment, but thrive in it. This can be done without succumbing to the worst aspects of politics. In this session we will talk about common political power plays the finance officer might encounter, the sources of the finance officer's own political power, and how to ethically exercise that power and redirect potentially destructive political impulses to more productive outcomes.
Sessions for Wednesday, May 24
What Does It Take to Rethink Budgeting?
The typical budget process is based online items and historical precedent. While this does have some advantages, it also has a host of disadvantages that have long been recognized. Those disadvantages are becoming more acute as our society evolves. Many intrepid finance officers have explored new ways of doing budgeting and GFOA's Rethinking Budgeting project is providing new guidance for doing budgeting differently. But what does it take for a local government to change the way it budgets and plans? In this session, we'll discuss what GFOA research is finding and hear from practitioners are who are rethinking their own budgets.