We are celebrating Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) ongoing Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. GFOA is one of our all-in members and is one of the most progressive professional association.
Here’s why we love GFOA.
— Jane Marie Ford (@jamarierose) May 21, 2017
Dan Weinheimer, Routt County, CO, is representing us at the conference. Dan presented in fronted of a packed crowd today. Recruiting New Finance Officers: Separating Fact from Fiction
— Dan Weinheimer (@danwein) May 21, 2017
With the GFOA Conference ongoing, we want to share some of the best ELGL content related to budget and finance.
The garden that is Pearland is big. It has well-prepared soil. It is planted with a mix of flora that ranges from the life-sustaining to simply aesthetic. But it is still in many way a relatively young garden. It is not self-sustaining and in many ways will always be interdependent with our surroundings. And our fully-blossomed community has not yet completely taken root.
Budgets aren’t supposed to be complex and scary. Back when I was a kid, my personal budget had just two columns, with my not-so-hefty, not-so-inflation-adjusted allowance on one side, and the cool stuff I wanted to buy on the other (think N64 games, Pokémon cards, and pumpable basketball shoes that would finally allow me to beat my friends on the court through sheer dunking, NBA Jam style). They were also so colorful that I should have been hired to halt Lucky Charms’ decline (sucks for you, General Mills).
Each of these categories (referred to as appropriation levels) captures the full range of costs that occur within a local government’s day-to-day tasks. Accounts typically lumped into Personnel are Salaries, Overtime, Temporary Wages, Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA), Retirement, and Health Insurance. The below spreadsheet turns all the technical jargon into something comprehensible.
Q: Is there a finance personality? And how does that fit with the evolving role you talk about?
A: You certainly have personality types and lots of people who are comfortable being accountants are comfortable with rules and will never be comfortable making things up as they go. You have some people structured that way, but you have to create a path forward for folks to use those skills to meet the community’s needs.
Be honest: do you sometimes see finance officers as giant buzzkills who come in at the end of all the hard planning work just to tell you your local government can’t afford your terrific idea?
And if you’re a finance professional, do you see the uncomfortable look colleagues get when you walk into the room where they’re discussing their favorite projects? Are you frustrated to see them put a lot of work in on an idea, only to find at the end there were never enough resources to pay for it?
Most people who head an organization – whether it’s a department or an entire government – see themselves as either a natural leader or a born manager. Many finance professionals lean toward being strong managers. Managing and leading require different skill sets and mindsets, but the success of any organization depends on competence in both roles.
Find a few people on your team who are in a position to give you honest assessments. Some leaders tend to get carried away with their own enthusiasm and can benefit from a reality check. Avoid those who are consistently negative, but find colleagues who can give an honest appraisal so you’re sure to consider all angles.
We’ve really been working on a financial resiliency effort to really help push finance departments throughout the county to figure out how do you really weave in financial resiliency into all of the operations. Looking at the principles, what does your organization or city or county hold near and dear and how do you make sure that all of your decisions are following those principles and following those values as you move forward and want to make sustainable decisions in to the future.
Marc Gonzales has been Chief Financial Officer for Clackamas County and several of its affiliated agencies since January 1995. He joined Clackamas County as an Accountant in 1984. Marc is a past President and past board member of the Oregon Municipal Finance Officers Association. A resident of the City of Portland, he currently is serving a sixth term as a citizen volunteer on Multnomah County’s Investment Advisory Board. Marc received his BA degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Portland State University in 1983 and his MBA from University of Oregon in June 1996. Marc is a tennis player, beekeeper, reader, cook, husband and father.
Chris Morrill, the City Manager of Roanoke, VA for one more day, joins GovLove to talk about his next career step. He discussed his career path, which included a stint in the Peace Corps and consulting in South Africa, and how hard it was to make the choice to become the next Executive Director of GFOA. He discusses managing Roanoke through the Great Recession and how the city worked to revitalize its downtown. And learn about Chris’ plans for GFOA and why he thinks it’s a vital association.
Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Works Cities is a national initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents.
Participatory budgeting is a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.
Milwaukie, Oregon Finance Director Casey Camors has very strong opinions in support of biennial budgeting. And Canby, Oregon Finance Director Haley Fish has very strong opinions in support of annual budgeting. What happens when you put the two of them on a podcast? Smackdown! Learn the pros and cons of these two approaches to local government financial planning. (Note: no finance directors were harmed in the taping of this podcast).