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GFOA Newsletter
November 10, 2016
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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Current Issues in Debt Management: Post-Election Market Outlook and Disclosure Practices After MCDC

Two options for training—choose between a full-day live session and a two-hour live broadcast.

Attend GFOA’s 2-hour webinar on November 18, 2016, from 2 to 4 p.m., to understand the current market outlook for debt management and the importance of disclosure responsibilities following the SEC’s MCDC initiative. The session will feature industry experts and interactive discussion, providing perspective on current events and their impact on the muni market, today and tomorrow.

This webinar will be a live broadcast of a portion of GFOA’s full-day training session, Debt Management for Frequent Issuers.

MCDC Resource Center

On August 24, 2016, the SEC Office of Municipal Securities announced enforcement actions against 71 municipal issuers for violations in municipal bond offerings from 2011 to 2014, as part of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) initiative. Get the information your government needs during this heightened state of attentiveness regarding issuers' continuing disclosure responsibilities at GFOA’s MCDC Resource Center.

GFOA Best Practices

For guidance on how to meet disclosure commitments, see GFOA’s best practices:

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Association News
Don’t Miss the Encore Presentations of GFOA’s Popular Web-Stream Events

Thank you to the thousands who recently participated in GFOA’s 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update and First Annual Better Budgeting web-stream events. If you missed either of these offerings, take advantage of registering for the upcoming encore presentations. Save with group discounts!

  • 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update 
    December 1, 2016 
    1 to 5 p.m. (Eastern)
    4 CPE credits
    Learn everything you need to know about the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments, including the latest GASB statements, exposure drafts, and implementation guidance. Click here for details and to register today.
  • First Annual Better Budgeting 
    January 12, 2017
    2:00 p.m.−4:00 p.m. (Eastern) 
    2 CPE credits
    This program is designed to equip those on the front lines of local budgeting to do an even better job meeting the many practical challenges they must face from day to day and from year to year. Click here for details and to register today.

If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

Executive Board Nominating Committee Seeks Input

The GFOA Executive Board Nominating Committee is seeking recommendations for candidates to fill five at-large positions and the position of president-elect for the 2017-2018 GFOA Executive Board. All candidates must be active GFOA members. Please send nominations by December 31, 2016, to Heather Johnston, Past President, c/o GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210.

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GFOA Files Comments on MSRB’s Strategic Plan

On November 10, 2016, GFOA, along with the Leadership of the Committee on Governmental Debt Management, filed comments on the MSRB’s fiscal year 2017 Strategic Plan. The message reiterated approval for the MSRB’s work on EMMA, especially the development of platforms and features that enhance an issuer’s ability to use EMMA with greater ease and consistency, as evidenced in the groups’ recent work on improving the bank loan function. However, GFOA would appreciate the MSRB continuing to reach out to the association about further educational efforts and enhancements to EMMA. Specifically, GFOA recommends that the MSRB:

  • Improve the EMMA user interface.
  • Make data correction/modification of EMMA input easier for issuers.
  • Allow for a seamless flow of data between EMMA and other systems and sources.

GFOA asks the MSRB to be aware of and commit attention to the needs of smaller governments, including cost impacts and educational efforts needed to ensure their robust use of EMMA.

Finally, GFOA’s comments complement the MSRB’s significant outreach and education efforts to the issuer community and recognition of the wide range of online training resources that are publicly available to users of EMMA. Please click here to read GFOA’s comment letter in response to MSRB’s request for comments.

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Lame Duck Session Is the Perfect Time to Discuss Marketplace Fairness

Now that the general election has concluded we enter the lame duck session, an especially important time for GFOA to continue engaging members of Congress, both old and new, about an important issue—a resolution to the challenge of collecting online sales taxes.

Earlier in the year, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Robert Goodlatte (R-VA-6), released proposed legislation designed to address the remote collection of taxes on online purchases. Goodlatte’s proposal is an alternative to legislation introduced by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3), Remote Transactions Parity Act (HR 2775), which is waiting to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte’s discussion draft has not yet been introduced officially for legislative consideration, providing an opportunity to raise state and local governments’ priorities. GFOA continues to support HR 2775 because it would compel retailers to collect taxes on remote sales bases on the location of the consumer.

The legislation may be introduced by year’s end, and GFOA is working closely with its colleagues at the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties and National Governors Association, and partners in the retail community, to urge Goodlatte to consider compromise with the better solution, HR 2775. GFOA encourages its members to reach out to their congressional representatives and urge their support for HR2775, using the resources in our Marketplace Fairness Act Resource Center. If you do reach out to or hear back from your congressional representatives, please let GFOA know—e-mail Emily Brock at ebrock@gfoa.org!

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First-Time Distinguished Budget Award Recipients Announced

The following jurisdictions are first-time winners of GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: City of Campbell River, British Columbia; City of Fort Bragg, California; Village of Schiller Park, Illinois; City of Lake Forest, Illinois; Sister-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon; Columbia Gorge Community College, Oregon; Town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island; City of Aiken, South Carolina; County of Louisa, Virginia; and Seattle Public Schools, Washington.

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News Links
Considering another Facet of Risk

Thinking about an organization’s branding will ensure that someone is watching over its reputation, according to Government Executive. Actions speak louder than words for organizations, just as they do for individuals, and for that reason, customer service matters. Of course, “people don't always do the right thing; it is important to remedy risky situations as soon as they crop up,” the article notes, suggesting that “this is why every organization should have an Office of Enterprise Risk.” In this case, risk “is anything about the functioning of your business that, left unchecked, has the potential to harm your reputation.”

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Paper Gives Overview of the Pension/OPEB Landscape

It is impossible to discuss municipal finance without considering the cost of pensions and other post-retirement employee benefits (OPEB), the largest of which is retiree health insurance. These costs have received enormous press coverage, usually incorporating sweeping generalities about the burden of employee post-retirement benefits for the nation as a whole. No one mentions Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina—states that have done a good job of providing reasonable benefits, paying their required contributions, and accumulating assets. The picture at the state and local level is extremely heterogeneous, so it is crucial to look at the numbers state by state and locality by locality. A new paper from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College provides a comprehensive accounting of pension and OPEB liabilities for state and local governments and the fiscal burden that they pose. 

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Tips for Making the Best of Unpleasant Conversations

Managers can’t get away from having the occasional difficult conversation with an employee. Perhaps the most important tip, according to SmartBrief, is not to delay—just do it. Now. Putting it off doesn’t do you or your employee any favors, as feedback should be given as soon as possible, and the longer you wait, the more daunting the conversation becomes. Next, “set a time, duration, and clear agenda,” making sure the employee’s voice will be heard. For example: “Emily, I’m uncomfortable with the way you spoke to the client on that call. I’ve booked 30 minutes to talk about how we can go about repairing the relationship with them.” The third step is getting yourself ready to listen to the other person so you can understand where he or she is coming from. “Start your conversation with an open-ended question, and actively listen,” the article suggests, so you can learn as much as possible from the employee’s perspective. When it’s your turn to talk, it helps to “validate their point of view, and convey empathy.” Finally, “end your conversation with asking more questions, and coming to some agreements—what will the person do next? How can you support them and help them succeed? How and when will you follow up? And how will you both know when the issue is resolved? Just like this initial conversation, plan for that follow-up, and resist the urge to put it off; have it in a timely fashion.”

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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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