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GFOA Newsletter
March 23, 2017
Establishing a Grants Administration Oversight Committee

When a government receives a grant, it often comes with requirements that apply to operations, compliance, sub-recipient monitoring, and reporting. There are usually negative consequences for failing to meet these requirements, such as the need to return funds to the grantor. Likewise, a grant may result in a program that continues, or an asset that must be maintained, well beyond the expiration of the grant. To help avoid these negative consequences or unanticipated burdens, governments should create both a grant administrative oversight policy that requires certain steps to be taken before applying for or accepting grants and addresses issues related to the ongoing operations of the grant. In addition, a permanent centralized grant oversight committee should analyze grants before they are accepted, renewed, or continued to determine whether acceptance, renewal, or continuation would be appropriate.

For more tips, see GFOA’s best practice, “Establishing a Grants Administration Oversight Committee.”

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Association News
Treasury Closes SLGS Window

On March 8, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it will suspend sales of state and local government series (SLGS) securities until further notice. The suspension is aimed at helping the Treasury manage debt subject to the federal debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department announced would happen on Wednesday, March 15. Suspension of SLGS sales has become a standard component of the extraordinary measures implemented by the Treasury Department over the past several years to keep the government from defaulting on its debt during partisan congressional and White House battles over increasing the debt ceiling. The SLGS window is unlikely to reopen until fall, when the federal government will exhaust its borrowing ability. Until then, governments can buy Treasuries from brokerage firms instead of using SLGS, although doing so might be more costly. GFOA will continue to closely monitor the Treasury Department and alert members to the reopening of the SLGS window.

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House Introduces Legislation to Classify Municipal Securities as High Quality Liquid Assets

This week HQLA Champion Congressman Luke Messer (R-IN-6) has introduced bipartisan legislation (HR 1624) in response to a rule approved by the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Depository Insurance Commission, and the Comptroller of Currency in September 2014, which established new liquidity standards for banks. The new standards, which went into effect in January 2015, require financial institutions with at least $250 billion in total assets to maintain prescribed levels of liquid assets that can quickly be converted into cash in times of national economic stress. These asset classes included foreign sovereign debt, but failed to classify municipal securities as high quality liquid assets (HQLA).

In the last Congress, the House voted by unanimous consent to approve bipartisan legislation identical to this legislation that would require federal regulators to classify all investment-grade, liquid, and readily marketable municipal securities as HQLA. However, the legislation stalled in the Senate.

Not classifying municipal securities as HQLA will increase borrowing costs for state and local governments to finance public infrastructure projects, as banks will likely demand higher interest rates on yields on the purchase of municipal bonds during times of national economic stress or even forgo the purchase of municipal securities. Congressman Messer’s legislation would protect municipal securities issuers from such cost increases by directing the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC to admit municipal securities into accepted HQLA classes outlined under last September’s rule.

GFOA appreciates Messer’s leadership on this important issue and will engage GFOA members in the coming weeks in the advocacy effort to advance consideration of this legislation in the House this summer.

How Did the “Mile High City” Get its Nickname?

By an amazing stroke of good luck, the 13th step on the west side of the Colorado State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level – one mile high. In Denver’s rarified air, golf balls go 10 percent farther. With less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Colorado. Register for GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference, May 21–24, in Denver to come see for yourself! Take advantage of a broad-range of sessions to learn new skills and enhance your expertise.

More than 20 CPE credits are available with your participation. Don’t miss an opportunity to attend this year’s event – apply for GFOA’s first-time annual conference attendee scholarship. 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. For ideas about what to do while in Denver, click here.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Why Having a Professional Network is Important to Your Career

Building a professional network is a great way to expand your knowledge base, stay current with industry trends and in touch with colleagues, share lessons learned, leverage specific expertise when necessary, raise your professional profile both in and out of your organization, and provide opportunities for career growth. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many other social networking sites have made identifying “a network” much easier. However, building and maintaining that network and investing in it so that it can be useful are challenges for many finance officers.

Sign up for GFOA’s preconference seminar, Building Your Professional Network, Saturday, May 20, from 8:30 am to 12:30 p.m. to learn strategies about how to make useful connections and get the most out of social networking, as well as explore some other less common places for developing effective professional relationships. In addition, speakers will discuss how to successfully use your network and relationships to help accomplish goals within your organization and in your career.

Register today for this preconference seminar and GFOA’s other preconference seminars. Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation.

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Apply Now for the 2017 Advanced Government Finance Institute

GFOA is taking applications through March 31, 2017, for its Advanced Government Finance Institute (AGFI). The AGFI is an intensive week-long program that gives GFOA members the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and focus on management, strategic planning, and professional and personal development issues. Faculty from the University of Wisconsin, in addition to public- and private-sector specialists, come together to promote an interactive learning environment. Extensive networking opportunities are embedded into the program.

GFOA members are encouraged to apply to the 2017 AGFI, which will be held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus from July 30 to August 4. The fee for the course is $2,100, which includes tuition, meals, and classroom materials.Thirty CPE credits will be offered for the week-long coursework. Fifty GFOA members will be selected through an application process.

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Stay Up-To-Date on Important Developments in Accounting, Budgeting, and Investing

Register for one or more of the following courses, July 18−21, at the Hilton Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Save 10% on the registration fee when you sign up and pay in full by June 16. If you register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar, you will receive 10% off of each registration fee. (To receive the group discount, registrations must be received and paid together. This discount cannot be applied to online training registrations.)

Register today! (Registration form / Online)

A block of rooms has been reserved for GFOA attendees at the Hilton Minneapolis. Based on availability, GFOA’s group rate is valid until June 26. Click here for more information about available rates.

For a list of activities to do during your stay, visit Meet Minneapolis. If you have any questions about GFOA’s training seminars, contact GFOA

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News Links
Considering In-Kind Contributions for Public Pensions 

Corporations often make in-kind contributions of non-cash assets like securities and real estate to their pension funds when they face cash-flow difficulties. Governments have only recently started transferring assets to fund their pension plans, but “it’s an idea that, done properly, is worth considering,” according to Governing. “For governments, an in-kind contribution can make use of a surplus asset in a way that preserves precious cash, improves balance-sheet resiliency and avoids service cuts or tax increases – all the while keeping a civic asset in the public sector. For pension plans, an in-kind contribution presents an opportunity to obtain an asset without acquisition costs.”

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Smart City Grant Winners Use Resources to Improve Innovation, Inclusion, and Investment

Smart Cities Council, the world’s largest smart cities network, named five winners of the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant program. The winning cities will receive a tailored Readiness Workshop during 2017 to develop a road map for applying smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion, and investment within their cities.“ Breaking down the departmental silos is a key challenge in developing a smarter city. Each of the winning cities has demonstrated the ability to work across departments to solve problems,” according to the Smart Cities Council.

  • Austin, Texas, will use its Readiness Workshop to develop strategies to invite under-served populations to participate in designing solutions for their mobility needs as well as affordable housing and economic development.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana, will strengthen emerging initiatives in smart utilities and transportation.
  • Miami, Florida, will demonstrate the value of smart technologies to enhance urban resilience.
  • Orlando, Florida, will receive help to develop a comprehensive smart city plan that fully integrates multiple city departments and regional stakeholders.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will get help facilitating collaboration and building a regional smart cities ecosystem. 
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Tips for Making Meetings More Efficient

Keeping meetings short and productive requires discipline. Government Executive provides six guidelines:

  • Decide whether a meeting is really necessary.
  • Set an agenda.
  • Keep it short.
  • Give homework.
  • Be disciplined.
  • Don’t use all the time available if you don’t have to.
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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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