SGF Annual Business Meeting & Resource Roundtable Discussion

By Norman Eckstein, CFO, Township of Boonton, New Jersey

The SGF held its Annual Business Meeting during the GFOA Virtual Conference.  Jennifer Signs, the SGF Chair, kicked off the meeting by emphasizing that this past year's accomplishments for the forum were only made possible because of the combined efforts by each member. Furthermore, Jennifer detailed how the SGF would continue to provide engaging activities for the coming year.

Then, the participants benefited from the knowledge shared by the panel of experts during the resource roundtable discussion. To begin, Jimmy Forbis, the City Manager for Gilroy, California, described how every small government could promote economic development by "not focusing on what you can't do but what you can do." Jimmy explained how "economic development is not always about dollars."  Specifically, he commented that "just a change in mindset regarding government regulations can create the momentum for economic development."

The next topic was debt issuance. Noel Graczyk, the Administrative Services Director for Chaska City, Minnesota, shared his insights on debt.  It was reassuring to hear from Noel that "you are not alone in the debt process."  As many small government finance officers know, we depend upon the professional services provided by the Municipal Advisor and Bond Counsel during the entire process. For example, Noel mentioned that the Municipal Advisor would "help you tell your story, which would not just be numbers so that you would get the best interest rate." He reminded us that the efforts from your colleagues are critical as you satisfy the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and continuous disclosure requirements for debt issuance.

For the final presentation, we were privileged to have Dr. Cynthia Berry speak again for SGF. Dr. Berry has already spoken to us regarding the importance of cross-training. During this resource roundtable discussion, Dr. Berry offered her advice on how your organization can achieve a "growth mindset."   Here, she emphasized that as leaders, we need to be present for such training.   Furthermore, we should remind our employees that "mistakes are ok and they would not be punished during this process."   Finally, she encouraged us to "empower our employees by sharing our strategic plan with them."  Matthew Trine, the SGF Secretary, summarized Dr. Berry's presentation as having many "nuggets of wisdom."

We are looking forward to seeing everybody at more networking and professional development events for the coming year.

For more information about economic development, see GFOA's GFR article:

•       Prioritizing Community Values in Capital Budgeting

For more information about debt issuance, see GFOA's upcoming training:

•       Debt Management Best Practices

For more information about staff development, see the GFOA/SGF's past trainings:

•       Employee Cross Training in Small Governments #1 What is it and why does it matter?  

•       Employee Cross-Training #2: How do I do it well?

•       Employee Cross-Training #3: Adding Value & Building Capacity