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GFOA Newsletter
August 18, 2016
Help Your Government Manage Risk

To ensure that governments will be able to continue offering the services that residents need and want, organizations must have effective risk management measures in place. Risk management is a program designed to identify potential events that may affect a government and to protect and minimize risks to its property, services, and employees. The importance of risk management has been growing steadily over the last several years for a variety of reasons including legal, political, and medical liability, increased use of technology, and higher litigation costs. Risk management is geared to achieving a government’s objectives through strategic decisions that flow through high-level goals, effective use of resources, reliability of reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. GFOA’s Creating a Comprehensive Risk Management Program best practice offers steps for making sure your government is protected.

GFOA also provides best practices addressing risk management in specific areas, including:

Another resource, Financial Policy Examples - General Fund Reserves, includes GFOA’s risk assessment tool and policy examples.

Association News
S&P Releases MCDC Settlement Commentary

On August 15, 2016, S&P released commentary discussing the potential effects a continuing-disclosure settlement would have on muni credit. The commentary explains that the credit rating agency does “not expect the settlements themselves to translate into rating downgrades if settling issuers respond with proactive approaches to addressing any identified deficiencies in their disclosure practices.” The second-round issuer settlements will be focused on management practices and the capabilities of the management team, as opposed to the underwriter settlements issued in the first round, which required external oversight and civil penalties. As management practices are a part of the broader rating criteria, S&P acknowledged that the issuer settlement will be taken as a part of the credit analysis and thus do not expect significant volatility if there are disclosure deficiencies identified. 

Read the Commentary.
Don’t Miss GFOA’s November Training Seminars

GFOA will host three training seminars in our offices in Chicago, Illinois, November 14−18, 2016. Sign up for one or more of the following courses:

Take advantage of a group discount. Register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar and you receive 10% off each registration fee. (To receive the group discount, registrations must be received and paid together. The discount cannot be applied to online training registrations.)

Register today. Submit a training registration form or sign up using GFOA’s e-store.

A block of rooms has been reserved for GFOA attendees at the Hyatt Place Chicago River North. Click here for more information on special GFOA group rates.

We look forward to your participation. For ideas on what to do while in Chicago, go to Choose Chicago.

Read More.
Senate-Side High Quality Liquid Assets Legislation

On February 1, 2016, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve HR 2209, bipartisan legislation that would require federal regulators to classify all investment-grade, liquid, and readily marketable municipal securities as high quality liquid assets (HQLA). This important legislation is necessary to amend the liquidity coverage ratio rule approved by federal regulators last fall, classifying foreign sovereign debt securities as HQLA while excluding investment grade municipal securities in any of the acceptable investment categories for banks to meet new liquidity standards.

Some members of the Senate Banking Committee are seriously considering the introduction of companion legislation to HR 2209, and GFOA urges its members to send letters to Senate members asking them to sign on as cosponsors of the bill. Read the full article for background information and e-mail links to strategically important senators, and click here for a draft letter.

Read More.
First-Time Distinguished Budget Award Recipients Announced

The following jurisdictions are first-time winners of GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: City of Leduc, Alberta; Red Deer County, Alberta; Merced Irrigation District, California; Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority, Colorado; Corporation of the City of Brampton, Ontario; City of Shavano Park, Texas; Brazos River Authority, Texas; Westmoreland County, Virginia; Clark Regional Wastewater District, Washington; and City of Bellevue, Wisconsin.

Read More.
News Links
Trees Create Value for Urban Areas

The benefits of planting more trees add up quickly—according to an article from the June 2016 issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 9.1 million trees provide annual services valued at $1 billion or $110.63 per tree. The study compiled recent inventory data from 929,823 street trees in 50 California cities to determine trends in tree number and density, identify priority investments, and create baseline data against which the efficacy of future practices can be evaluated. Also important: The state’s street trees remove the carbon equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road each year.

When cities plant trees, FactCoExist.com notes, “they do more than make the place look nice. They also help cut energy use (by reducing the need for air conditioning), store carbon dioxide, trap airborne pollutants, and intercept rainfall.” Trees also help increase property prices.

Read More.
Tips for Being Persuasive in Difficult Situations

Most of us would like to improve our ability to be persuasive in difficult situations. The Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog (at www.bakadesuyo.com) summarizes tips from Never Split The Difference, a new book by Chris Voss, formerly the FBI’s lead international hostage negotiator, who presumably knows whereof he speaks. The many suggestions discussed can be boiled down to the following:

  • Don’t be direct because it often seems rude. Instead, take your time, and be nice.
  • Instead of trying to get the other person to say yes, which makes him or her defensive, try to get a no.
  • Acknowledge all the negative things they think about you to defuse them.
  • People want to feel in control, so ask questions and let them feel like they’re in charge.
  • Get the other person to say “that’s right” by summarizing their position.
  • Even though you may feel like you have no leverage, you always do, so listen very carefully to discover where it is. Finding out the real reasons the other party is resisting you allows you to address the underlying problems directly and start solving the problem.
  • Let the other person solve the problem for you by repeatedly asking how you can do the thing he or she is asking for.

And finally, keep it positive; most deals end because of negative feelings. 

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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