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GFOA Newsletter
May 26, 2016
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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5 Executive Board Members Elected

Marc Gonzales, director, Department of Finance, Clackamas County, Oregon, became GFOA’s new president at the association’s annual business meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 24, 2016. Gonzales accepted the gavel from 2015−2016 President Heather A. Johnston, city manager, City of Burnsville, Minnesota. Also at the business meeting, the association’s members elected a new GFOA president-elect and five new members-at-large, who will each serve a three-year term beginning immediately.

President-elect

  • Patrick J. McCoy, Director of Finance, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York

Members-at-large

  • Gary Donaldson, CTP, Chief Financial Officer, Orange County, North Carolina
  • Marion M. Gee, Director of Finance, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri
  • Merrill S. King, Finance Director, City of Minnetonka, Minnesota
  • James M. Nicholson, Director of Finance, City of Pataskala, Ohio
  • Dawn L. Lang, Management Services Director, City of Chandler, Arizona
 
Association News
Thank You!

Thank you to the attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors who participated in the GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. To download this year’s presentation materials, click on the specific session title here and scroll down on the page. If you have not yet done so, we ask that you please complete this year’s conference evaluations.

If you missed any sessions from the annual conference, GFOA has audio recorded each session so you will be able to bring the conference to your office. The audio recordings will offer a unique learning opportunity regardless of whether you attended the Toronto conference. The purchased session recordings can be downloaded from GFOA’s website once the conference is concluded. Click here to access the order form. Order online. The recordings will be available on June 1.

Save the Date!
GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference will take place May 21−24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Registration will open in late fall.

The call for session topics is open—click here to access the submission form.

 
Urbanist Richard Florida Suggests New Role for Local Governments

The Tuesday general session at GFOA's annual conference featured Richard Florida, the urbanist perhaps best known for his concept of the “creative class,” which posits that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of technology workers, artists, musicians, and other creative groups exhibit a higher level of economic development. Florida explained that though the creative class makes up a relatively small portion of the total workforce, it creates a disproportionate amount of economic growth. For example, the creative class comprises about 30% of the workforce but produces about 75% of disposable income in the U.S. and Canada. This means that the old conceptions of land, labor, and capital are no longer as relevant to economic development. For example, the factory used to be the organizing unit of the economy and before that the farm. Today, metropolitan regions that provide the environment for innovation and creativity are the new organizing unit of the economy. It will be up to finance officers to help their local governments take on and thrive in this new role.



A CFO's First 100 Days

At the Tuesday GFOA conference session, “A CFO’s First 100 Days,” Yousef Awwad, chief financial officer of Portland Public Schools, and Marion M. Gee, finance director at the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, discussed strategies for getting a successful start in a new financial leadership role.

  • First, when someone obtains their first position as financial leader, they most likely came from the ranks of financial management. Hence, the new leader needs to recognize the difference between leadership and management. Here are some of the key ways to become a leader:
  • Do a lot listening, especially when first arriving in a new position. A leader must listen carefully in order to discern the real meaning in what he or she is hearing. Sometimes, people are not able to communicate exactly what they want to say. A leader must make the effort to gain an authentic understanding of other people's views.
  • Understand the organizational culture. A leader must know the values and beliefs that shape the day-to-day behavior of employees.
  • Communicate clearly and set expectations. A leader must make sure all employees have a common understanding of the goals of the organization, why the organization is pursuing them, and how the organization will reach them. In addition to establishing relationships with employees, a new leader needs to do the same thing outside of the organization, with the community, regulators, and contractors/consultants.
  • Coach and train. Leaders must build the capability of employees so that they realize their fullest potential in the workplace. Leaders should not be micromanagers.


School Districts Discuss Aligning Resources with Student Achievement Goals

For the second year in a row, GFOA hosted a luncheon at it’s annual conference for school districts to discuss GFOA’s best practices in budgeting for school districts. This year’s event featured four school districts – Portland Public Schools, Dayton City Public Schools, Upper Moreland Township School District, and Atlanta Public Schools – that have been on the journey toward optimizing the alignment between their limited resources and their student achievement goals. The districts discussed some of the challenges they faced, including the difficulty of prioritizing the many different, yet worthy, goals that their districts could pursue; changing the budget in a political environment; and grappling with limited resources. They also described the successes they’ve achieved, such as creating a partnership between the finance and academic offices; changing the tone of the budget the conversation to emphasize the effect of budget decisions on children; and building a team within the district to carry this work forward.

Visit SmarterSchoolSpending.org for case studies, tools, and templates to help you implement the best practices.

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Jurisdictions Win Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for First Time

The following jurisdictions are first-time winners of GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: Apex Park and Recreation District, Colorado; City of Winters, California; City of Milton, Florida; City of Haines City, Florida; Clay County Board of County Commissioners, Florida; City of Lighthouse Point, Florida; Town of Surfside, Florida; Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund; Moraine Valley Community College District, Illinois; Kane County, Illinois; City of Mandeville, Louisiana; City of Columbus, Ohio; City of Alton, Texas; City of Kingsville, Texas; Village of Big Bend, Wisconsin; and Village of Butler, Wisconsin.

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News Links
The Four Qualities that Make a City Great

A recent study reports that the four qualities that make a city great are: “mixed land use (creating areas that serve more than one function and thus attract more than one type of person), small block sizes (they encourage pedestrian interaction), high density, and diverse architecture (different ages and forms of buildings accommodate tenets of varying economic statuses).”

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Tips for Delivering Difficult Feedback

No one likes to give difficult feedback to their employees, but done properly, it can be a way to help your team grow. Receiving good feedback is a gift because it helps us get better at our jobs. GovLoop offers some tips to make the tough conversations as productive as possible:

  • Don’t wait. “Feedback is best given right away, as soon as you notice a problem. That ensures the lesson will be fresh in both of your minds – plus, stockpiling criticisms from long ago can make you seem petty.”
  • Give difficult feedback in person. “Meeting in person does two things. First, it allows you both to better gauge responses. And second, it frames your feedback as a productive conversation, rather than a disciplinary action.”
  • Be specific. “Specific feedback gives your team member something to work on and move towards, whereas general criticism can have the opposite effect of making it seem like there’s nothing he can do to fix the problem. … Before your meeting, break down your general critiques into smaller, more actionable morsels of feedback.”
  • Don’t pile on the mistakes. “Because most of us tend to hold off on these conversations, it can be tempting to pile up everything to say all at once.” Instead, “try to distill multiple concerns into a single piece of fundamental behavioral feedback. Focusing your efforts on correcting a single bit of bad behavior – like a tendency to rush through without double checking her work – may clear up a host of other problems.”
  • Come up with a plan together. “Make a tough feedback conversation truly productive by treating it as a brainstorming session. Try to frame this meeting as a way of working together to solve a problem, rather than simply handing down your criticism from on high.”

Uncertain? Run things past HR. “If you’re just not sure what to say, try consulting with HR first before having the discussion. You may even want to practice what you’ll say, or role play in order to get your wording correct.”

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School Districts Discuss Aligning Resources with Student Achievement Goals

For the second year in a row, GFOA hosted a luncheon at it’s annual conference for school districts to discuss GFOA’s best practices in budgeting for school districts. This year’s event featured four school districts – Portland Public Schools, Dayton City Public Schools, Upper Moreland Township School District, and Atlanta Public Schools – that have been on the journey toward optimizing the alignment between their limited resources and their student achievement goals. The districts discussed some of the challenges they faced, including the difficulty of prioritizing the many different, yet worthy, goals that their districts could pursue; changing the budget in a political environment; and grappling with limited resources. They also described the successes they’ve achieved, such as creating a partnership between the finance and academic offices; changing the tone of the budget the conversation to emphasize the effect of budget decisions on children; and building a team within the district to carry this work forward.

Learn more about the best practices for school budgeting at www.gfoa.org/school-budgeting. You can also visit SmarterSchoolSpending.org for case studies, tools, and templates to help you implement the best practices.

arrow
Read More.
School Districts Discuss Aligning Resources with Student Achievement Goals

For the second year in a row, GFOA hosted a luncheon at it’s annual conference for school districts to discuss GFOA’s best practices in budgeting for school districts. This year’s event featured four school districts – Portland Public Schools, Dayton City Public Schools, Upper Moreland Township School District, and Atlanta Public Schools – that have been on the journey toward optimizing the alignment between their limited resources and their student achievement goals. The districts discussed some of the challenges they faced, including the difficulty of prioritizing the many different, yet worthy, goals that their districts could pursue; changing the budget in a political environment; and grappling with limited resources. They also described the successes they’ve achieved, such as creating a partnership between the finance and academic offices; changing the tone of the budget the conversation to emphasize the effect of budget decisions on children; and building a team within the district to carry this work forward.

Learn more about the best practices for school budgeting at www.gfoa.org/school-budgeting. You can also visit SmarterSchoolSpending.org for case studies, tools, and templates to help you implement the best practices.

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Read More.
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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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