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GFOA Newsletter
February 23, 2017
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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GFOA Announces Christopher Morrill as Next Executive Director

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Morrill, City Manager for Roanoke, Virginia, since 2010, as its next Executive Director. Mr. Morrill succeeds Jeff Esser, who is retiring after 35 years of distinguished service as GFOA Executive Director on June 30, 2017. Esser joined the Washington, D.C., office of GFOA in 1979 when the membership of GFOA was 9,000 and today it is 19,000.

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Association News
Encourage Your Congressman to Join Letter Supporting Muni Bonds

The House Municipal Finance Caucus has been hard at work in 2017, protecting the municipal bond from the potential threat of elimination through comprehensive tax reform. The caucus co-Chairs, Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), drafted a “Dear Colleague” letter explaining how muni bonds contribute directly to our nation’s infrastructure. The goal is to get as many members of Congress to sign the letter, which will be delivered to House leadership, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

  • Is your representative on the letter? Contact them and thank them for their support!
  • Is your representative not on the list? Contact them and remind them what bonds have built in your jurisdiction (#builtbybonds), asking them to join the letter.
  • If your representative is Republican, contact Bill Hulse in Hultgren's office at Bill.Hulse@mail.house.gov.
  • If your representative is Democrat, contact David Heitlinger in Ruppersberger's office at David.Heitlinger@mail.house.gov.
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See the List of Cosigners.
Roundtable Addresses the Challenge of Unspent Federal Grants

In “Leaving Money on the Table: The Challenge of Unspent Federal Grants", a roundtable hosted by the Lincoln Institute, a cross-section of leaders from the public and private sector will explore the challenges of unspent federal grants in the context of the intergovernmental transfers system in the United States. The roundtable will be held March 7, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the offices of the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Registration is open until February 28.

The Government Accountability Office called attention to this problem in a 2015 report about fiscally distressed municipalities and in a more recent report, which estimated that almost one billion dollars in federal grants are currently unspent. The roundtable seeks to raise awareness of the problem and catalyze solutions-oriented conversations across leaders from all levels of government, the private sector, and non-profit sector stakeholders who work with municipalities.

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Learn Best Practices, Current Trends, and Important Developments in Public Finance

Don’t miss GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver!

The conference program will feature more than 70 sessions on accounting, auditing, budgeting, capital planning, debt management, financial reporting, pension and benefit administration, and treasury and investment management. Earn more than 20 CPE credits with your participation. Register today!

More than 450 “first-timers” have committed so far 
to attend GFOA’s Annual Conference!

This is the highest number of first-time annual conference attendee scholarships ever awarded in one year! Take advantage of this opportunity or urge your colleagues to apply by e-mailing firstannualconference@gfoa.org.

Please note that all 50 scholarships are committed for the States of California and Colorado.

If you have any questions about the annual conference, contact GFOA.

Learn All You Need to Know about Personnel Budgeting during GFOA’s Preconference Seminar

Personnel budgeting can be extremely complex. Not only do governments budget for an assortment of positions, they must take into account position counts, service levels, staffing ratios, overtime, various funding sources, collective bargaining requirements, political pressures, and the need to forecast fringe benefits related to insurance, pensions, or OPEB. Managing this complex task efficiently requires that the finance or budget officer utilize a sound approach, and also coordinate resources from across the organization that include finance, human resources, and many other departments.

GFOA’s preconference seminar, Personnel Budgeting, May 20, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center, will provide best practice recommendations for creating and managing a position control structure, establishing the structure within an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and using that structure for budgeting personnel costs, techniques for estimating salary and fringe benefit costs, and managing positions throughout the year.

Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation. Register today!

New to Government? Get Up to Speed with GFOA’s Budget or Accounting Academy

Maximize your training opportunities by registering for the following subject-intensive courses:

  • Training for New Budget Analysts.  If you’re a new or an intermediate analyst, or new to government  and looking to gain important budgeting skills, sign up for GFOA’s Budget Analyst Training Academy, April 25−28, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, California. This course will cover essential elements of public-sector budgeting, such as goal setting, program development, revenue and expense analysis, position budgeting, capital budgeting, and more. Earn 30 CPE credits with your participation.
  • Network with Other Accountants and Auditors New to the Public Sector. Accountants and auditors new to the public sector must immediately face the daunting challenge of familiarizing themselves with the highly specialized rules, guidelines, and practices applicable to state and local governments. GFOA’s Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting, July 31−August 4, 2017, at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois, is intended for those who already possess at least a basic knowledge of private-sector accounting and will combine lecture, discussion, and exercises to help newcomers make this difficult, but essential, transition. Earn 32 CPE credits with your participation.

Register today! If you have any questions about GFOA training, contact GFOA.

First-Time Distinguished Budget Award Recipients Announced

The following jurisdictions are first-time winners of GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: City of Hollister, California; City of Half Moon Bay, California; Rainbow Municipal Water District, California; Village of Kildeer, Illinois; Anne Arundel Community College, Maryland; Greenville Utilities Commission, North Carolina; Town of Beaufort, North Carolina; City of Happy Valley, Oregon; Oak Lodge Sanitary District, Oregon; Schuylkill Valley School District, Pennsylvania; and Pleasant Grove City, Utah.

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News Links
Your Job Descriptions May Be Excluding High-Quality Candidates

Every government wants to find top-quality employees, but many organizations unwittingly write job descriptions that turn off a large percentage of the candidate pool, according to ThinkGrowth, which recently analyzed its own job descriptions to see how they could be improved. They came up with four key themes:

  • Use caution with qualifications. Job descriptions are often written as wish lists, including everything that would be “nice to have.” Unfortunately, potential applicants don’t always realize this, especially women –“while men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications, women tend to apply only when they meet 100%.”
  • Check for gendered language. “Certain words and phrases resonate with men more than women, and vice versa. Consider using a free tool, Textio, to analyze and improve job descriptions, flagging words and phrases that are more likely to attract male or female applicants.
  • Highlight benefits for all ages. Different groups value different things, and the language you use also speaks volumes.
  • Eliminate jargon. 
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Make Yourself Seem More Authoritative by Avoiding Certain Words

Your choice of words conveys volumes, so it’s important to consider them carefully. Forbes suggests the following ways to increase your perceived level of power by using fewer of certain types of words:

  • Protector words like “just,” which downplay the importance of your statement or request.
  • Drama words like “very,” “absolutely,” and “totally.” These superfluous words don’t add value, and using fewer words comes across more authoritatively.
  • Protector words like “I think” or “arguably.” These words aren’t necessary and they broadcast that you may be wrong.
  • Ability words like “I’ll try” and “don’t worry about it,” which suggest uncertainty.
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Disagree without Being Disagreeable

Disagreeing with a colleague can be uncomfortable, requiring a certain amount of finesse to avoid getting into an argument or appearing disagreeable. SmartBrief provides some tips to help you disagree while appearing reasonable, interested, and supportive:

  • Find something you do agree on.
  • Support those commonalities and praise your colleague for being willing to tackle this problem.
  • Don’t just disagree; start by asking questions like “I’m not sure how this will work out – what about (your concern here)?”
  • Be pleasant.
  • Reframe the situation, keeping in mind that you’re working together to solve a common problem.
  • Recognize the emotional component of the situation, keeping in mind that decisions are seldom made based on reason alone.
  • Agree to disagree if you can’t find a middle ground.
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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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