By: Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin
This fall I have attended the Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA) and the Oregon Municipal Finance Officers Association (OMFOA) conferences and I look forward to attending the Alaska Government Finance Officers Association conference this month in Anchorage. The conferences I have attended have been excellent and the people I met very gracious and welcoming.
One subject that was discussed at both conferences and also at the PERS conference last week was cyber security. The gentleman teaching the cyber security courses at WFOA talked about a city where its direct deposit funds for payroll (over $400,000) were deposited into accounts throughout the mid-west instead of into employee bank accounts and those funds were immediately transferred from the mid-west accounts to an account in Ukraine. The thieves were able to access the City’s data files that housed the direct deposit bank information and change all the accounts to the account in the mid-west by sending a phishing email to a city employee. Phishing is defined as an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card detail and money by appearing as a trustworthy source in an electronic communication such as an email. Apparently the employee received an email that included a website link. Because the email appeared to be from someone she knew, she clicked on the link. That triggered the application that made it possible for the payroll deposit to be sent to the wrong bank accounts. This is just one example of many that were shared in the sessions I attended.
At the OMFOA conference the subject of cyber security and business identity theft was discussed. Business identity theft is becoming a serious problem. A good example of business identity theft is that correspondence is sent to the accounts payable department of an entity stating a vendor’s bank account has changed for its ACH payment. The business receiving the correspondence uses the new information and pays the invoice only to find out that the funds were sent to a bank account overseas and they still owe their vendor for the outstanding invoice.
To help prevent the City of Tustin from being a victim we have started to regularly inform our employees through email of any hacking trends that the City may be receiving through email and we are now discussing having mandatory cyber security training for all employees on a regular basis. We are also implementing additional steps to confirm if correspondence received by our vendors is legitimate by calling the vendors, researching the vendors’ websites and paying attention to any irregularities of invoices.
I hope you found this information useful, and you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving with your family and friends.
Executive Director’s Message
By: Melissa Dixon, CAE
If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be receiving your membership renewal notices for 2015. I hope you find value in CSMFO, and you continue to support your professional organization.
Want to make the most of your membership? Now is the time that President-Elect Jesse Takahashi will start thinking about his committee appointments for 2015. If you’re interested in volunteering for one of the standing committees (listed below), please contact me at email@example.com.
Conference Site Selection
Professional Standards & Recognition
Also, don’t forget there are 20 chapters throughout the state who would most likely love having additional help putting on meetings and other chapter functions. Don’t be afraid to volunteer—you’ll be surprised what a rich, rewarding experience it can be!
2015 CSMFO Annual Conference
“The Changing Tides of California Finance”
By: Tim Seufert, NBS
The CSMFO 2015 Annual Conference should be on your calendar! Networking, sessions and fun are all part of the plan. Come early and stay late to take advantage of all the offerings in the Monterey area.
The overall educational plan is almost final at this point. For the preconference on Tuesday, there are now two sessions being offered:
- IT session: Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive/CIO, Oakland County, Michigan will address IT issues relevant to CSMFO members. This proved to be a very popular session last year (but this won’t be a repeat of last year!), and will likely fill up.
- Revenues session: “All you wanted to know about Municipal Revenues – The Update” will drill down on the basics on municipal revenues as well as recent trends and developments. Veterans Michael Coleman (CSMFO Local Government Consultant), Lloyd deLlamas (HdL), and Tim Seufert (NBS) will be on the panel.
On Tuesday, there will also be golf (with an 8 am start, so arrive early) and tennis tournaments, as well as an optional wine tasting and tour.
For the Wednesday “Early Bird” time, we also now have two programs:
- GFOA update: Stephen Gauthier from GFOA will present on topics near and dear to many CSMFO members, and has been a well-recommended session in years past.
- Innovative public/private projects: There will be an informative hands-on tour and discussion of Monterey-area projects.
In addition, the Exhibit Hall will open in the morning, earlier than usual. This will be a good time to talk with vendors about services and products available for your organization.
The educational sessions during the conference will feature a broad range of topics, from accounting and financial reporting to budget and financial planning, from treasury/debt management to leadership development and innovation and information technology. A sampling of the confirmed sessions are as follows:
- GASB: David Bean, CPA, will discuss what you need to know about recent and possible future GASB standards.
- Water rates: We will have a session on the drought and its effect on water rates.
- The economy: We will have an update on the economy and predictions for 2015.
- CalPERS: An update from Alan Milligan, Chief Actuary, and Cheryl Eason, CFO, is planned.
- Debt Management: We will have a session focusing on Post-Issuance Compliance and the impact of the Municipal Advisor’s Rule.
- Treasury Management: We will have a session focusing on current market development and how those trends will likely impact the investment market.
- Leadership Development: Two sessions with Neil Kupchin are on tap, including one on developing the next generation of high performers.
On Thursday, the day will start with a Fun Run/Walk, and end with a wild reception and party, with lots of diverse entertainment!
Monterey is the place for the Annual Conference, from February 17-20, 2015 at the Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey, California. Lodging will be at the Portola Plaza Hotel. The express intent of the Conference is to enhance knowledge and training of the membership. Registration is now open at www.csmfo.org/csmfo-2015-annual-conference/.
If you have not done so, make your hotel reservations now (the hotel can be reached at (888) 222-5851 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org), and get ready for an extra-special Annual Conference in Monterey.