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GFOA Newsletter
July 20, 2017
Applications Due Next Week
Join One of GFOA’s Standing Committees

Applications to become a GFOA standing committee member will be accepted through July 28, 2017. Take the opportunity of serving on a standing committee to contribute your experience and knowledge to the entire membership. 

GFOA’s seven standing committees meet twice each year and develop best practices, advisories, and policy statements for the approval of the Executive Board and membership. GFOA associate members from the private sector can also apply to be advisors to one of the committees.

The GFOA’s seven standing committees are: Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting; Canadian Issues; Economic Development and Capital Planning; Governmental Budgeting and Fiscal Policy; Governmental Debt Management; Retirement and Benefits Administration; and Treasury and Investment Management.

  • Complete the application here.
  • If you are a current GFOA committee member, please complete the application for re-appointment here.

If you have any questions about the committee application, please contact Emily Brock.

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Association News
GFOA Job Search:
Are You GFOA’s Next Director of Technical Services?

GFOA is looking for a proven leader and expert in governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting to be the next director of the Technical Services Center. The director will provide guidance and leadership to state and local governments across the United States and Canada, contribute to GFOA training and publications, and advocate for state and local government by monitoring the GASB’s technical activities.

GFOA’s approximately 20 Technical Services Center employees provide technical information, products, and services to GFOA members and others interested in government finance regarding accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. At the heart of the center’s activities are five professional recognition award programs. Candidates for the Director of Technical Services Center must be leaders and experts in governmental accounting and finance, and possess excellent oral and written skills and a collaborative, engaged management style.

The first resume review will occur on August 20, 2017.  

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GFOA Joins Comments in FCC Local Wireless Siting Proceedings

GFOA recently joined several other organizations representing local governments to file Reply Comments in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding, “Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment.” In general, the joint comments expressed opposition to efforts at the federal level that would preempt local government siting authority. The comments also urged the FCC to develop a process that would move state and local governments and industry parties away from an adversarial relationship and toward more of a partnership that focuses on increasing access to advanced communications services for local communities – but in a way that balances the needs of industry with the economic and regulatory concerns of those communities.

The other organizations GFOA joined for the comments are the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, National League of Cities, National Association of Towns and Townships, National Association of Regional Councils, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Tax Reform 

On July 18, 2017, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held its second tax reform hearing of this Congress, “Comprehensive Tax Reform: Prospects and Challenges.” While the hearing focused on broad principles and challenges to reforming the federal tax code, it did involve some discussion on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. Preserving the SALT deduction has been a long-standing priority for GFOA, and it remains so as the debate on tax reform evolves. Committee members heard from four individuals who served as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy in the U.S. Treasury Department. An archived video of the hearing and the panelists’ written statements are available online.

The hearing comes on the heels of a request for public feedback on tax reform from Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Comments were filed on behalf of the Public Finance Network (PFN), a coalition of organizations in Washington, D.C., led by GFOA, that represent segments of state and local government on finance issues. The comments stressed the importance of maintaining the exclusion for municipal bond interest and the preservation of the SALT deduction as a necessity for a strong federal-state-local partnership that delivers core governmental services to citizens. The PFN’s comments are also available online.

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Looking for Practical Training Opportunities? How About
7 Courses over 5 Days?

Take advantage of signing up for one or more of the following training courses about accounting, budgeting, or technology at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento in California. Register by tomorrow, July 21, and save 10 percent! (Registrations must be paid in full to receive the discount.)

If you register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar, you will receive 10 percent off 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)

Click here for hotel information. Go to Visit Sacramento to learn about activities for your stay. If you have any questions about GFOA’s training seminars, contact GFOA.

For additional training opportunities, go to GFOA’s training schedule

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News Links
Cities Recovering from Fiscal Distress without Help from the Federal Government

Despite the concerns of some members of Congress about the possibility of local governments requiring federal bailouts, it turns out that cities that were recently facing bankruptcy have made remarkable recoveries – with no federal assistance, according to an article by Frank Shafroth in the July 2017 issue of Governing. No U.S. city or county is currently in bankruptcy, “a testament to the tenacity of state and local leadership.” 

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Studies Show that Employee Stress and Disengagement Hurt Productivity

It’s generally taken as a given that working in a stressful environment makes people less productive, but studies show that the cost goes beyond that, Government Executive reports. According to studies of high-stress employers in the U.S. economy, health-care expenditures are nearly 50% higher at these organizations; more than 550 million workdays are lost because of stress each year; 60% to 80% percent of workplace accidents are attributable to stress; and more than 80% of physician appointments are stress related. Also, “in hierarchical organizations, the lower an employee’s rank, the higher the chances of cardiovascular disease and death from heart attacks.”

And that’s not all. “Stress also contributes to disengagement or emotional detachment,” according to the article. Actively disengaged employees “have higher absenteeism, more accidents, more errors, lower productivity, and lower customer satisfaction.”

Government Executive notes that “Management actions that increase stress affect all employees. When problems are ignored, stress levels increase over time.” In contrast, a great deal of research indicates that “organizations that commit to a positive work environment have a far greater chance of succeeding. The business literature solidly supports an enlightened approach to management that supports and encourages engagement.”

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Making Feedback Less Difficult and More Useful

Delivering employee feedback can be an exercise in frustration, on both sides of the conversation. Feedback is an important element of employee management, but many managers only allow employee feedback to be given once a year, in a very controlled HR environment. There’s been a recent trend to completely eliminate the employee evaluation because it’s a waste of time. The Context of Things blog provides some tips to make the process less painful and more useful.

Employee feedback is a form of respect, so treat it that way, the article advises. It also points out that many managers lack soft skills and aren’t necessarily good at interpersonal communication, and they also assume that giving feedback means they have to be tough on their employees. This situation needs to be remedied through management training.

How to improve the situation? “The best type of coaching gives the recipient 100% of the control to make changes. This means focusing on action-based goals with no dependencies,” according to the article. The author suggests that managers remember this above all: “The No.1 predictor of effective teams oftentimes is psychological safety. If an employee feels respected and open to legit feedback — feels like the direct manager cares, has his/her back, etc. — then the safety element is there, and the work will end up better.” 

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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Chris Morrill 

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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