By: Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin
One of CSMFO’s ongoing goals is for the organization to sustain and grow the membership and encourage active participation in the organization. A high-level priority action to achieve this goal was to add structure to the chapters. The action plan for this high-level priority was to explore options to ease the administrative burden.
The Board of Directors appointed a subcommittee made up of former and current chapter chairs and Board members to explore the options to ease the administrative burden for the chapters. The objective is to allow the chapter chair to have more time to find speakers and venues and to promote CSMFO and encourage members to participate. The subcommittee met and developed a list of what CSMFO could do to help alleviate the administrative tasks associated with chairing the chapter. Areas focused upon were banking and the registration process of holding luncheons. Smith Moore & Associates was asked to provide a proposal for providing the administrative services.
The subcommittee was pleased with Smith Moore & Associates’ quote and the item was presented to the Board of Directors at the June 10, 2014 Board meeting. The Board approved the contract with Smith Moore & Associates. The Board is also pleased to be able to use CSMFO’s current financial resources to help the chapters. As a former chapter chair, I want to thank the Board of Directors and the members of the subcommittee for finding a solution to help ease the burden of administering the chapters.
Executive Director’s Message
By: Melissa Dixon, CAE
As our President’s message notes, the CSMFO Board of Directors recently approved contracting with Smith Moore & Associates (my firm) for additional support services. You’ve heard how this will ease the administrative burden on the chapters, but what does it mean for you? Namely, one thing: You can pay for a chapter meeting with a credit card.
You may not see this right away, because transitions don’t happen overnight, but ultimately every chapter will have its meetings posted to the CSMFO website, and you’ll be able to register to attend right online, just like you can with the Weekend Training or the Annual Conference. And of course, you’ll be able to pay in advance with a credit card!
When your chapter’s meeting is available for online registration and payment, we’ll let you know. Watch your emails for details!
CalPERS Board of Administration – Public Agency Member Election
An election is being held to fill the state and public agency member representatives for the CalPERS Board of Administration. The term of the incumbents will expire on January 15, 2015. The new term of office will begin on January 16, 2015, and run through January 15, 2019.
You are eligible to vote in this election if you are a CalPERS member active as of July 1, 2014. A ballot package will be mailed to your home address on August 29, 2014, and you can vote for a candidate through September 29, 2014.
Candidate Statement: Leyne Milstein
On Thursday May 22nd I officially became a candidate for the CalPERS Board of Administration. How many times have you received a CalPERS Board ballot in the mail and had absolutely no idea who the candidates were – or why they were running? For that matter, how many times have you actually voted?
So, you may be asking, why am I running? Why now?
Did you know there is only one elected CalPERS Board seat to represent active local public agency members?
With recent CalPERS Board decisions resulting in what could easily be 55% increases or greater in pension costs for more than 400 participating local agencies over the next six years,it has become apparent that that we need an advocate for public agency interests and concerns.
As public employees, we’ve dedicated our careers to public service. To honor that commitment, we should have reasonable assurances that the pensions and benefits we have worked so hard to acquire will be there when we need them. But our CalPERS benefits and local public agencies funding our benefits are facing significant challenges. The status quo is failing us, jeopardizing our benefits.
We need to elect new leaders, with new ideas and tough accountability to protect the promise made to public agency employees in the face of these significant financial challenges.
My motivation for running for this office is to ensure the long-term financial stability of the CalPERS system and greater transparency and accountability of the CalPERS Board.
Here are just a few questions that keep me awake at night:
- How will employers pay for the costs associated with ensuring my pension will be there when I retire?
- How do we ensure the viability of our pension system over the long-term?
- Are there opportunities to reduce costs AND protect benefits?
As the Director of the Finance Department for the City of Sacramento, with 17 years of experience in government management, policy, and finance at the state and local levels I believe that I have the knowledge and experience to ask the tough questions and make smart decisions on behalf of public agency members to support the long-term viability of our pension system.
It is imperative that we keep CalPERS strong and focused on OUR needs:
- Ensuring more sustainable and affordable CalPERS pensions
- Providing access to quality and affordable health care
- Improving Board transparency, communication, and accountability
And that’s why I’m running for the CalPERS Board of Administration.
If you are a public agency member of CalPERS you will receive a ballot in late August. Voting is from August 29-September 29. No matter for whom you cast your vote, don’t let your ballot hit the “circular file” this time. The issues we are facing are too important.
I can be reached at (916) 500-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like to discuss these issues further.
Director of Finance, City of Sacramento
CSMFO Member Since 2006
Candidate Statement: Priya Mathur
Since being elected to the CalPERS Board in 2002, I helped lead your fund through challenging times – two market downturns rocked our investment portfolio and anti-defined benefit plan ideologues threatened our retirement system. In addition to protecting your retirement security, I’ve worked to ensure access and choice to affordable, quality health care.
As a Principal Financial Analyst at BART for the past sixteen years, I understand the challenges public agencies face in meeting budgets, securing bonds and controlling costs. I take that same approach as a fiduciary at CalPERS.
At almost $300 billion in assets, CalPERS’ investment portfolio has recovered strongly from the market low and surpassed its prior high. My priority is to protect the sustainability of the CalPERS retirement system. To achieve a stable portfolio and funding status, we must be vigilant on asset allocation, investment strategy, risk management and cost containment.
Costs matter! I’ve fought to negotiate aggressively with investment managers and reduce investment fees. I will continue to support investment strategies that maximize returns, minimize exposure and keep fees low.
I defended the interests of public employees and employers by fighting to keep CalPERS’ rate of return (discount rate) at 7.5%. We stopped ideological attempts to lower CalPERS’ rate to a ‘risk free’ level that, if successful, would have forced financially strapped public agencies to contribute more than necessary, leading to cuts in vital services and staffing. This attack on our discount rate was groundless. CalPERS’ investments have surpassed our benchmark over both the short- and long- term.
CalPERS retirees are living longer than our previous demographic projections. This issue needed to be addressed in a sensible manner that considered the ability of employers to increase their contributions. While Governor Brown pushed for an immediate hike in local government employer contributions, I heard public employers’ concerns and supported a more reasonable five to seven year contribution increase for local agency employers. I opposed the Governor’s rapid escalation in contributions and argued that such a quick implementation would put intense pressure on local agency budgets and could result in service reductions, layoffs and pay freezes.
As Chair of the Pension and Health Benefits Committee, I led efforts to add four new, high-quality HMO plans to the CalPERS offerings. These new plans have increased competition and resulted in rate increases of 3% or lower for more than half of our members if they stay with their current plan. I will continue to implement thoughtful initiatives that achieve smarter, more effective care and find innovative ways to expand health care access, contain costs, improve benefit value and keep your premiums affordable.
It is an honor to serve you and your employees who faithfully serve California, and to vigorously protect your health care and retirement security.
I ask for your support and your vote to return me to the CalPERS board. Together, we can preserve our health care and retirement security.
Vice President, CalPERS Board of Administration
Public Agency Representative, 2003—current
MBA, Haas School of Business
Make Plans (now!) to attend the 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference
By: Tim Seufert, NBS
Warm and friendly Monterey will welcome CSMFO members and attendees to the Annual Conference in February, 2015. The Portola Plaza Hotel and Monterey Convention Center will provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, in the walk-friendly center of downtown Monterey. The Annual Conference offers the perfect combination of technical learning, professional development and networking. The express intent of the Conference is to enhance knowledge and training of the membership.
Your 2015 Annual Conference Host Committee is already hard at work, cooking up a delectable plate of technical sessions and networking events. The committee is composed of:
- Jesse Takahashi, City of Campbell, Chair and CSMFO President-Elect
- Drew Corbett, City of Menlo Park
- Jane Corpus, City of Milpitas
- Tori Hannah, City of Capitola
- Patty Kong, City of Mountain View
- Lauren Lai, City of Marina
- Marcus Pimental, City of Santa Cruz
- Julie Porter, City of Monterey
- Karan Reid, City of Concord
- Tim Seufert, NBS
- Anna Van Degna, Stifel
In addition, CSMFO Executive Director Melissa Dixon and her staff, along with M&AMS staff Janet Salvetti, Teri Anticevich, and Marisa Anticevich, are major supporters of the event.
Put the Conference on your calendar now for February 18-20, 2015, and book your room at the Portola Plaza Hotel. We have blocked 781 room nights at the rate of $179 for single or double occupancy, but they are already being reserved. The phone number for the Hotel is (888) 222-5851 and the email address is email@example.com.
GFOA Accepting Applications for Standing Committee Membership
Applications to become a GFOA standing committee member are being accepted through July 18. Serving on a standing committee is an excellent opportunity for GFOA members to contribute their 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 may also apply to be an advisor 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. Members interested in applying can do so online. You must already be a GFOA member in order to apply. Applicants selected to serve on one of GFOA’s standing committees will be notified of their invitation to serve the week of September 1, and standing committees will convene their first meeting with new members on December 11 and 12 in Washington, DC.
Please let CSMFO Executive Director Melissa Dixon know if you apply, so we can keep track of your progress!
GFOA Announces the Release of the GAAFR Supplement
(Chicago, Illinois-June 24, 2014) There have been several developments affecting accounting, auditing, and financial reporting for state and local governments since the Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR or “Blue Book”)was published in 2012. First, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has released four new standards. Second, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) of the Treadway Commission has issued a significantly expanded version of its classic Internal Control- Integrated Framework. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) released the GAAFR Supplement (e-book) to address those developments.
Specific changes contained in the GAAFR Supplement (76 pages; electronic format; written by Stephen J. Gauthier) include:
- A replacement chapter on accounting for pension plans that incorporates the latest guidance from GASB Statement No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans,
- A replacement chapter on employer accounting for postemployment benefits that incorporates the latest guidance from GASB Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pension Plans,
- A supplement to chapter 30, “Other Specialized Applications” that incorporates the GASB’s new guidance on government combinations (GASB Statement No. 69) and nonexchange financial guarantees (GASB Statement No. 7),
- A replacement chapter on internal control that incorporates the latest guidance from COSO, and
- Related amendments to the chapters devoted to note disclosure (chapter 22) and required supplementary information (chapter 32).
The GAAFR is also now available as an e-book. The GAAFR (902 pages; electronic format; written by Stephen J. Gauthier) incorporates all of the guidance of the GASB Statement No. 66. It offers all of the references necessary to ensure easy access to the underlying authoritative standards. Features include: a practical “chapter in brief” summary for each chapter; a set of exercises for each chapter (with an explanation of correct responses); a detailed index; and a comprehensive glossary.
ORDERING INFORMATION: The GAAFR Supplement is only available in an e-book format. Copies are priced at $30 each for GFOA members and $45 each for nonmembers. When you purchase the GAAFR as an e-book, the GAAFR Supplement will also be included. The price for the set is $129 for GFOA members and $159 nonmembers. Visit the GFOA ‘s e-store at www.gfoa.org with steps on how to download your e-book. For information on quantity discounts, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Major credit cards are accepted; all orders must be prepaid unless accompanied by a purchase order. Orders must be placed as follows:
All orders prepaid by check should be sent directly to:
Government Finance Officers Association
3076 Eagle Way
Chicago, Illinois 60678-1030
All other orders (including those with purchase orders or paid by credit card) should be mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed to:
Government Finance Officers Association
203 North LaSalle, Suite 2700
Chicago, IL 60601-1210
Phone: (312) 977-9700
Media representatives or book review editors may contact Barb Mollo, Director of Operations and Marketing Center, at (312) 977-9700 for a complimentary review copy.
Top 5 Take-Aways from the GASB OPEB Accounting Exposure Draft
By: Mark Schulte, Consulting Actuary, Van Iwaarden Associates
Last week the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) released its long-awaited exposure draft of proposed Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB; usually retiree medical) accounting changes. Although there may be modifications before the rules are finalized, public employers should be aware of the potential consequences. Here’s our list of the top 5 items from the exposure draft:
1. Most of the proposed GASB 67/68 pension changes are carrying over to OPEB – which is not surprising. These include:
- The Net OPEB Liability (NOL; essentially the entire unfunded liability) goes on the face of the financial statements. This will be a major change from the incremental Net OPEB Obligation currently used as the balance sheet liability.
- The discount rate will be based on a projection of whether the employer’s current assets plus projected contributions are expected to cover current plan members’ future benefit payments.
- Enhanced disclosures of historical contributions, funded status, and the basis for selecting actuarial assumptions.
- Accelerated recognition of liability changes in OPEB expense; no more 30 year open amortizations.
- Funding and accounting are officially separated; this means no more ARC.
2. Goodbye community-rating exception to the implicit subsidy liability. Now everyone with blended premiums must calculate an implicit subsidy liability.
3. All plans will now use the Entry Age Normal (level percent of pay) actuarial method to allocate liabilities between past and future service periods. Although OPEB benefits are not usually pay-related, this new requirement is intended to make liabilities more comparable than the 6 different methods currently allowed under GASB 45.
4. Disclosure of the Net OPEB Liability’s sensitivity to changes in medical trend (+/- 1%), discount rate (+/- 1%), and combinations thereof. This means a total of 9 different NOL measurements.
5. Calculation of an Actuarially Determined Contribution (ADC) and development of a funding policy. Although not technically required, employers will need these two important items if they are prefunding their OPEB and not simply using pay-as-you-go funding.
And, as an added bonus, the exposure draft requires actuarial valuations at least biennially and has eliminated the triennial option for employers with fewer than 200 members. Given the volatility of OPEB liabilities, this is probably a better policy.
What do all of these changes mean for public employers? We’re still sorting through all of the details, but the primary outcome is that more effort will be required to prepare OPEB actuarial valuations and the results will have a greater impact on employers’ financial statements.
Although these changes aren’t scheduled to be effective until the fiscal year beginning after December 15, 2016, public employers will want to start thinking about the potential financial impact and whether they will prompt updated OPEB funding and investment policies. Along with the current revisions to GASB 67/68 pension accounting, the proposed OPEB changes represent a major evolution in public benefit accounting. Comments regarding the exposure draft are due no later than August 29, 2014.
Want to help shape the future of local government financial reporting?
GASB wants your input. A survey is open to government preparers until June 6, 2014. Let your voice be heard.
Upcoming CSMFO Webinars
“What Finance Professionals Need to Know about HR” 10:00 – 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Thursday, June 26 Webinar Topics:
- What are the key things you need to know about HR?
- What are the critical issues where finance professionals and HR need to collaborate closely?
- How can you enhance working relationships for the benefit of all?
- Russ Branson, retired Admin. Services Director, Asst. City Manager, Roseville, CA
- Jon Holtzman, partner, Public Law Group
Welcome New CSMFO Members!
- Philip St. Pierre, Finance Assistant, Brooktrails Township CSD, North Coast Chapter
- Jackie Alexander, Director of Information Technology, Mission Viejo, Orange County Chapter
- Michael Bruckner, Senior Management Analyst, Palo Alto, Peninsula Chapter
- Kelly McCann, Senior Accountant, Yorba Linda Water District, Orange County Chapter
- Fariba Ghahremani, Sr. Accountant, Menlo Park Fire Protection District, Peninsula Chapter
San Gabriel Valley Chapter Meeting – July 16
– Speaker: Peggy McBride, Partner Vasquez & Company
Inland Empire & CMTA Div 8 Chapter Meeting – July 17
– Speaker: Lance Christiansen, State Board of Equalization
Channel Counties Chapters Meeting – July 17
– Speaker: Habib Isaac, Raftelis Financial Consultant, Inc.
Orange County & CMTA Division 9 Meeting – August 21
– Speaker: Nitin Patel, CPA from White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP
Introduction – Governmental Accounting, Fresno, CA – July 16, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Ahmed Badawi – Badawi & Associates
Intermediate Governmental Accounting, Indio, CA – July 31, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Susan Mayer
Cashier & Supervisor Training Classes, San Mateo, CA – August 4, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Laurie Steele, PTI Instructor and Treasurer, Marion County, Oregon
Power of Fiscal Policies/Long Term Financial Planning, San Diego, CA – August 19, 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
Power of Fiscal Policies, San Diego, CA – August 19, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
Long Term Financial Planning, San Diego, CA – August 19, 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
CSMFO provides government finance professionals with numerous resources for enhancing and advancing their careers. Visit the job opportunities page of the CSMFO website for a list of current job openings.