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GFOA Newsletter
February 2, 2017
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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Best Practices in School Budgeting Framework Aligns Resources and Student Outcomes

GFOA’s best practices in school guidelines are centered on a comprehensive budget process framework focused on academic and finance collaboration to best align resources and desired student outcomes. The framework represents the culmination of a multi-year effort led by GFOA, with input from numerous school district officials and other experts in education finance to develop guidelines for better budgeting tailored specifically for school districts.

The framework begins with guidelines for district-wide communication and collaboration, including setting baseline expectations for what the budget process will achieve. The focus then shifts to developing robust goals and integrating the process with the district’s strategic plan, including developing a comprehensive package for implementing a district’s goals, or instructional priorities. 

Interested in acquiring hands-on, practical implementation of GFOA’s best practices in school budgeting? Attend GFOA’s School Budgeting Best Practices live training on March 9 and 10, 2017, in GFOA’s Chicago offices (and receive 16 CPE credits).

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Association News
GFOA Federal Liaison Center Priorities Outlined

The new presidential administration is laying out its key goals and looking for opportunities to find traction for these initiatives. GFOA priority items for the new administration and Congress include consideration of legislation dealing with an overhaul of the federal tax code through comprehensive tax reform, collection of state and local taxes on remote sales, legislation to classify investment-grade municipal bonds as high-quality liquid assets, efforts to repeal or significantly reform the Affordable Care Act, and attempts to revise the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

GFOA’s overview of expected federal activity in 2017 includes references to GFOA’s related advocacy campaigns. GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center will monitor these legislative and regulatory activities and work to advance the public policy positions adopted by the GFOA membership.  

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Marketplace Fairness: Municipal Resolutions Urge Congressional Leadership

Even though January 2017 marked the beginning of the 115th Congress and a new presidential administration, state and local governments still find themselves with no ability to enforce existing sales and use tax laws on online purchases, a long-standing priority for state and local governments. GFOA remains optimistic that federal remote sales tax legislation will advance in the new Congress and anticipates the introduction of legislation identical to last year’s legislation in February 2017.

In Roanoke, Virginia, city council members determined that the strongest message could be delivered via resolution urging Congress to pass marketplace fairness legislation. Several other surrounding jurisdictions have passed identical resolutions. A local paper published a corresponding op-ed piece by Chris Morrill, Roanoke city manager, the local chamber of commerce, and a local business leader, describing the resolution and its purpose.

Consider doing the same! Visit GFOA’s marketplace fairness webpage for the resources you need to pass a resolution, including a draft resolution and a mythbuster fact sheet. Please let us know at the Federal Liaison Center if we can be helpful in any way. Contact Michael Belarmino or Emily Brock

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Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities Raises Concerns 

On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued the executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. An executive order is an official statement from the president that directs federal agencies as to how they are to expend their resources within the laws that are established by Congress and the Constitution. Technically, while an executive order is considered binding, it is subject to legal review and cannot be used to create new law or appropriate new funding from the U.S. Treasury. And while the use of executive orders is common, this particular executive order has drawn concern from finance officers in various jurisdictions because of a potential loss of federal grant funding for failure to comply with the order. Legal arguments against the executive order have been identified and are in development. As a member of the State and Local Legal Center, GFOA will continue to monitor the implementation of this executive order and will update GFOA members as developments occur.

You'll Want to Find Out More about GFOA's 2017 Annual Conference in Denver 

More than 3,000 conference attendees are already registered for this year’s big event, and more are on the way. Check out this year’s session listings and start thinking about which ones you want to attend! If your colleagues are not yet registered, encourage them to sign up by April 6, 2017, to take advantage of a registration discount.

More than 425 “first-timers” will be attending the conference, setting a new record. Find out more about our first-time scholarships. Please note that no more scholarships are available for the States of California and Colorado.

Make sure to:

Sign up your guests. There is no registration fee for guests or children, but they must be registered to attend GFOA’s welcome reception and to be allowed in the Exhibit Hall. Please e-mail the names of guests and children who will be accompanying you to badges@gfoa.org.

Book your hotel reservation. Experient will be the only official housing company for GFOA’s annual conference. Experient will not contact attendees directly to make reservations. Booking through GFOA’s official housing provider will ensure that you receive GFOA’s discounted rate, that you are working with a reputable company, and that credit card information is secure.

Plenty of rooms are available in GFOA’s official hotel block, and the hotels are within walking distance of the convention center. If you want to extend your stay beyond GFOA’s conference dates, work directly with Experient. Click here for more information and to make your housing reservation today.

Discount airline travel. Flying to Denver International Airport (DEN) is a convenient way to visit Denver. GFOA has arranged discounts with the following airlines:

  • Southwest
    Save 10% on Anytime & Business Select fares and 3% on select Wanna Get Away fares when travelling to and from the conference. Book your travel between February 1 and May 3 to take advantage of the discounted rates. Discounts are available for travel May 17 through May 26.
    50% bonus Rapid Reward points for attendee travel to and from the conference with a Rapid Rewards # added to your reservation. (To enroll in the Rapid Rewards program, visit www.southwest.com/corporaterapidrewards.)
    Click through this link to take advantage of the discounted rates.
  • Delta
    Meeting ID: NMPAV
    When booking online, select Meeting Event Code and enter the Meeting ID in the box provided on the search flight page.
  • United
    Z-code: ZXEG     Agreement code: 292506
    To book online, enter the Z-code followed by the agreement code (i.e., ZXEG292506) in the offer code box.

Conference closing event. Purchase tickets to GFOA’s “Denver Rocks!” closing event on Tuesday, May 23, from 7 to 10:30 pm at the Colorado Convention Center. What better way to top off your stay in Denver than with good food, friends, and entertainment? After enjoying a buffet dinner in the center’s ballroom, attendees and guests will head over to the state-of-the art Bellco Theatre for an exclusive concert by the Barenaked Ladies. The night is sure to be energetic and fun!

Plan your tours. Tours will be offered Saturday through Thursday for GFOA attendees and guests. The tours offered have been chosen specifically for GFOA and will include visits to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder, and more. For details and to register, click here.

Denver earned a spot among the top 25 destinations in Travel + Leisure’s “Best Places to Travel in 2016," which credited The Mile High City’s new hotels, cultural attractions, and culinary scene. We look forward to seeing you in Denver soon! If you have any questions about the Annual Conference, contact GFOA.


GFOA 111th Annual Conference
May 21−24, 2017
Concurrent sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday
and end at 12:10 p.m. on Wednesday

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Maximize Your Training Opportunities in Denver

GFOA will offer eight intensive preconference seminars on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at the Colorado Convention Center. One is highlighted below.

The Role of Leadership, Technology, and Finance in a Resilient Government
Friday, May 19 ● 1-5 p.m.
4 CPE Credits
Finance officers have learned a great deal in recent years about the importance of resiliency and how to achieve it. Structured around the seven characteristics of resiliency—recognizing risk, exercising foresight, being robust, being adaptable, looking deeper, building connections, and being flexible—this session will highlight the role of leaders in implementing resilient practices, focusing on those related to technology and financial processes throughout the organization. Learn about the cities of Boulder, Colorado, and Ft. Collins, Colorado, as well as Arlington County, Virginia, and their resiliency journeys. View the agenda.

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Looking for Additional Training? Sign up for GFOA Seminars in Reno

Register by February 17, 2017, to take advantage of an early registration discount on the following seminars at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada:

Group discount. Register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar and get 10% off of each registration fee. (To receive the group discount, registrations must be received and paid together. The discount cannot be applied to online training registrations.)

Register. Submit a training registration form or sign up using GFOA’s e-store.

Hotel accommodations. A block of rooms has been reserved for GFOA attendees at the Grand Sierra Resort until February 17. Click here for more information.

Activities. We look forward to seeing you in Reno. Click here for ideas on what to do while visiting.

If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

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See Award-Winning Budget Documents

Each year, reviewers for the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards program identify what they consider to be truly outstanding examples of compliance with each of the 27 criteria used to judge budget documents submitted to the Budget Awards program. Budget preparers and others who wish to benefit from these outstanding examples can do so by looking at:

GFOA’s Budget Awards home page also provides a list of all of the winners of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, accompanied by a PDF of their award-winning budget documents.

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Just Added—GFOA Regional Seminars at Locations Across the Country

Don’t delay—plan your training schedule now with GFOA’s just-added seminar listings through March 2018. Click here to view a list of courses and to register—space is limited. Watch for additional Internet training courses to be posted soon at www.gfoa.org.

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News Links
2016 Public Finance Upgrades Outpace Downgrades for First Time Since 2008

For the third time since 2008, 2016 upgrades outpaced downgrades for U.S. public finance, with upgrades at their highest level in over 10 years, according to a new Fitch Ratings report. Eighty-one percent of 2016 rating actions were affirmations. Upgrades totaled 332, a significant increase from 148 in 2015. Upgrades represented 9.6% of all rating actions, and the par value totaled $211 billion. Downgrades totaled 153 in 2016 versus 65 in 2015. Downgrades represented 4.4% of all rating actions, and the par value totaled $141.1 billion.

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Analysis Shows Fewer Local Government Workers since Recession

Most governments were forced to make some form of payroll reductions as a result of the Great Recession. Localities in many parts of the country have since restored public payrolls to prior levels, but some still employ far fewer workers than they did before the downturn, according to Governing.com. Governing’s analysis shows the agencies and states that have suffered the largest payroll cuts, comparing each state’s pre-2010 peak aggregate totals to the latest 2015 Census data, excluding the education sector. In all, local governments in 26 states had yet to see payroll expenditures return to prior levels when adjusted for inflation. Similarly, local public employment remains below previous highs in most states and is down 3.5% nationally from 2008.

Non-sworn police employees have sustained the single largest reduction of any major category of workers since 2008, likely a result of police departments trimming civilian staff to maintain the size of police forces out on the streets. Legislative and government-wide administrative agencies (such as personnel offices) cut about 10% of their workforces. Other areas of local government with larger reductions nationwide included highways, courts, and health departments.

Local officials often sought to preserve funding for public safety, instead applying cuts elsewhere. Nationally, numbers of police and firefighters were down 2.6 percent from 2008. Meanwhile, all other areas of local government, excluding education and hospitals, experienced a larger 4.5% decline.

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Why You Need Soft Skills, and How to Develop Them

When it comes to return on investment, investing in soft skills development for leaders produces hard, bottom-line results, according to Chief Learning Officer. Research points to several implications and trends.

  • Leaders need to focus on conversations. The consequences of communicating digitally instead of in person can be significant: “Face-to-face conversations are the most human — and humanizing thing we can do. Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It’s where we develop the capacity for empathy.” The article supplies a definition of leadership: “a series of successful conversations."
  • Leaders need soft skills training, however; studies show that leaders tend not to be very strong in this area, even at senior levels, where “only 11% of senior leaders are effective at displaying empathy and maintaining other’s esteem.”
  • Empathy is the most critical of all leadership soft skills and “the cornerstone of smart leadership.”

To become more effective in their interactions, organizations can promote soft skills (“do not substitute personality and style inventories for valid, science-based assessment”); develop soft skills (“not through lectures, books or online…it takes a combination of positive modeling, guided and repeated skill practice, and on-the-job application”); and reinforce a conversation culture (“conversations provide the bedrock upon which soft skills are learned”). 

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Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities Raises Concerns
On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued the executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. An executive order is an official statement from the president that directs federal agencies as to how they are to expend their resources within the laws that are established by Congress and the Constitution. Technically, while an executive order is considered binding, it is subject to legal review and cannot be used to create new law or appropriate new funding from the U.S. Treasury. And while the use of executive orders is common, this particular executive order has drawn concern from finance officers in various jurisdictions because of a potential loss of federal grant funding for failure to comply with the order. Legal arguments against the executive order have been identified and are in development. As a member of the State and Local Legal Center, GFOA will continue to monitor the implementation of this executive order and will update GFOA members as developments occur.
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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.

 


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