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GFOA Newsletter
August 17, 2017
Learn More about GFOA’s Budget Award Winners

GFOA congratulates the 1,541 governments that were awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. We invite you to take a look at these award-winning documents for ideas that might work for your government. GFOA posts additional winners every quarter. 

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Association News
Additional Class Offered, Due to Popular Demand
Don’t Miss GFOA’s Immersive Budget Academy in Chicago this October!

If you’re new to governmental budgeting or a career veteran looking to hone your skills, register now for GFOA’s added Budget Analyst Training Academy, October 10-13, at GFOA’s Chicago office. (Note: The September offering is currently filled to capacity. Space is limited for the October course.)

Register today! Registration form / Register online / Hotel Information

We look forward to seeing you soon! Go to Choose Chicago for ideas on what to do during  your visit. Questions? Contact GFOA Training.

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Looking to Enhance Your Accounting, Finance, or Economic Development Skills?

Sign up for one or more of GFOA’s training courses at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa in Arizona this October. Register by September 22 to 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 / Register online)

Click here for hotel information. Go to Visit Phoenix 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.

News Links
Hiring and Retaining Staff Remains No. 1 Issue for Local and State Governments

Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel was the top priority for 91 percent of respondents to a recent workforce trends survey from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. Other top concerns included staff and leadership development (77 and 76 percent, respectively) and succession planning (74 percent). 

Other key findings include the following: 

  • 74 percent of respondents reported hiring staff in the last year.
  • 47 percent hired contract or temporary employees.
  • 38 percent shifted a greater percentage of health-care costs to employees.
  • 24 percent established wellness programs.

For each year since 2010, a majority of respondents has reported making changes to health insurance benefits. The pace of changes to retirement plans has slowed in recent years, however; in 2012, 24 percent reported increasing current employee contributions to retirement plans, compared with 9 percent in 2016.  

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Local Governments Look at What a Federal Pullback Would Mean for Disaster Recovery

When the U.S. president makes a declaration of major disaster, the federal government pays for most of the recovery costs. As the number of billion-dollar disasters increases, however, federal officials are considering scaling back on that spending, Stateline reports.

This would affect the way local governments will prepare for – and recover from – natural disasters. “But preparing now for a billion-dollar storm that may be decades away can be a hard sell for officials who also have to come up with money for schools, roads, and other essentials,” according to the article. Governments that have rainy day funds are at an advantage, but making up for FEMA and other relief funds is a daunting prospect for any locality. “For many state and local governments, saving more money for disaster relief is out of reach without a significant influx of revenue.”

One proposal to reduce federal disaster spending is “to increase the damage threshold that states need to meet to qualify for federal funds, increasing their share of the costs under the Stafford Act, and creating a disaster deductible that states would have to meet in order to qualify for federal funds – changes that local officials say would shift significant costs to states, Stateline noted.

Proponents of the agency’s deductible plan say it would encourage states to save money for future disasters and design more resilient communities, but some cities and states say the deductible is unfair to disaster-prone states and local governments that don’t have the means to invest in resiliency on their own.

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Improve Your Speeches by Focusing Less on Individual Words

We tend to think that entertaining speakers are good because of the words they’ve chosen, but it’s also true that getting too hung up on your words can torpedo your speech, according to Fast Company. The article suggests that you “focus less on precisely what you’re going to say, and worry about a few of the subtler fundamentals instead.” Tips include the following:

  • Don’t struggle for just the right word; it’s better to “focus on communicating your overall message with conviction.”
  • Searching for the right word also interrupts your speaking rhythm, which projects hesitation and doubt.
  • Follow Mark Twain’s advice and “don’t use a $5 word when a 50¢ word will do.”
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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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