• Willdan Financial Services
  • Harris.
  • Cutwater Asset Management
  • Bartle Wells

Download the pdf version
*Please note that updates are continually made to the Job Board section of the MiniNews (PDF format) after its original release. Check the Job Board regularly.

President’s Message

By: Pauline Marx, City and County of San Francisco

CSMFO Strategic Planning Process

In the Fall of each year the CSMFO Officers, Board Members, Committee officers, Chapter leadership and our Executive Director set aside a day to consider where we are and where we want to be as an organization. We look at our key success factors, articulate strategic objectives, and come to a consensus on what we want to accomplish in the next year. The formal meeting is followed by a team-building exercise (more about that from our Executive Director). This meeting is held at the hotel where the next conference is going to take place and the next day it is followed by an in-person Board meeting and an Annual Conference Host Committee meeting. It gives us a chance to test out the hotel facility and its food in preparation for the conference. This year we were, of course, in Palm Springs, at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel. I can report that the hotel is wonderful. It has a much-welcome beautiful and large swimming pool (very handy for the 109 degree Fall weather) and is just a few blocks from downtown Palm Springs. BTW, the hotel offers a free shuttle from the Palm Springs airport and that helps make the trip an easy one.

For the last three years CSMFO’s objectives have included: training and delivery, membership and participation, and financial stewardship. Each strategic objective was associated to goals for each calendar year, as well as assignments to specific committees. A link to the current strategic plan can be found here {insert website].

The President-Elect has the responsibility of putting together the planning session as well as the team-building activity. For several years, Don Maruska facilitated the planning day. This year Pamela Arends-King solicited proposals and selected ACS Quantum Strategies to do this work. The facilitators prepared for the day by interviewing eight people representing CSMFO leadership in order to understand who we are and where we are. They then outlined the plan for the day.

CSMFO Review of 2013

We again focused on a multi-year strategy with concrete goals and actionable objectives, looking for a common understanding that could be easily communicated. The consultants lead us through an environmental scan (where we noted that fiscal outlooks were generally improving, that there are major transitions in talent, and that the need for governmental transparency has increased); and a SWOC Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges). We also took time to review CSMFO’s Mission Statement.

From there we talked about emerging priorities. Where do we want to go as an organization and how should we get there? We broke into smaller groups, each of which took a goal to talk about further. The small groups focused on what action steps are appropriate in order to achieve the goals. They then reported back to the full group.

Now we were ready to work to reach a concensus on the objectives and the action steps. We made a lot of progress, but were not able to complete this stage of the process! The group agreed to meet again in November, when we will discuss the draft plan and confirm the goals and priorities for 2014. I will be reporting back to you on the adopted strategic plan after that.

Executive Director’s Message

By: Melissa Dixon, CAE

As your President relates in her message, every Fall the CSMFO leadership gathers for the Strategic Planning Session. As part of the two-day event, the Board, committee officers and chapter chairs engage in a team-building exercise, chosen by the President-Elect. Past team-building exercises have been: bowling, go-kart racing, scavenger hunting, cooking lessons, etc. This year’s exercise, I have to say, may just be my favorite: bike building. That’s right, we built youth bicycles. The roughly thirty attendees were broken into five groups, each with two bicycles to build. The trick? We had to play games and do exercises (as a team) to win the bicycles parts. Some of those coming up with a bike-company name and logo; included batting ping pong balls into red solo cups; making a stand-alone structure with tape and sticks of uncooked spaghetti (tallest got bragging rights); creating and performing the company’s jingle. (I think my favorite was providing direction to Membership Committee Vice Chair Brent Mason on putting together a 25-piece puzzle–while he was blindfolded.)

Team-building facilitator with one of the 10 bike recipients 1For this team-building activity, however, there was a surprise ending. We all knew that the bikes (along with helmets and bike locks), would be given to kids in an underprivileged area; what we didn’t know was that the kids would get to join us on-site to get their new bikes. Ten little boys and girls, some with their parents, came into our meeting room at the convention center and each claimed their bikes. The kids were so excited…the smiles and the gratitude were enough to leave a number of the leadership teary-eyed and speechless.

The team-building exercises were fun and engaging, allowing each member of the team to work to their strengths, but being able to use our resources to support CSMFO and make such a noticeable impact on the lives on those children…it was truly a wonderful experience.

Nominating Committee

The month of October ushers in not only Halloween and the lovely cooler weather, but also nominations for our Board of Directors elections.  Each year, we seek a new Board member from the North, a new Board member from the South, and a new President-Elect (which rotates North/South; this year is North).  If you are interested in serving on the Board or as an officer, please contact one of the Nominating Committee members listed below.  Note that there are typically more nominees than there are spots on the ballot, so it is unlikely that everyone who submits will be on the final slate.

2014 Nomination Form

If you’re interested in getting involved as a committee member or in your chapter leadership, this is the time to tell us!  We are always looking for new volunteers with fresh ideas.  Please contact Executive Director Melissa Dixon.

Annual Weekend Training Seminar

The Annual Weekend Training Seminar is a 2 1/2 day skills-based workshop scheduled for November 15-17, 2013 (Friday-Sunday), at the Hilton LAX in Los Angeles. The training consists of ten different sessions covering such topics as: legislative update for California finances, investing public funds, bond financing, financial analysis & reporting, long-term financial planning and budgeting.

The seminar has always been an excellent value and that distinction is even more prevalent during these tough economic times.

Class size is limited to 40 participants and fills up quickly each year, so hurry and register! The registration deadline is October 18, 2013.

Please visit the CSMFO website to register online.

*If you have any questions or would like more details regarding the workshop, please contact Mark Uribe, Vice-Chair at muribe@ci.camarillo.ca.us or (805) 388-5358.

Playing the Next Round

2014 CSMFO Conference — Palm Springs — February 19-21, 2014

2014 Logo FinalThere will be many breakout sessions that include:

  • The finance professional preparing for the future
  • Succession planning: how does the retiring person prepare for their next stage and plan for knowledge transfer. What do you do if no knowledge transfer took place?
  • Professional growth: your supervisor wants to be the next finance director. What do they need to know, what skills do they need to gain?

What changes lay ahead for the finance professional and what do you need to be prepared for:

  • Pension reform – the next steps
  • State and federal impacts – economic development or ObamaCare?
  • Bankruptcy – who’s next, what are the impacts on your organization?
  • Regulatory reform – new laws, updated GASB statements and more
  • The new normal – the next generation is now

Plan to join us in Palm Springs for the best CSMFO Conference ever!

Are You Trying to Decide the Right Amount of Fund Balance?

By Shayne Kavanagh

Reserves are the cornerstone of financial flexibility. Reserves provide a government with options for responding to unexpected issues and a buffer against shocks and other forms of risk. Managing reserves, however, can be a challenge. The main question is how much money to maintain in reserve –  how much is enough, and when does it become too much?

The City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was considering this question, in light of volatile revenues, the risk of natural disasters, and exposure to other risks. The City engaged GFOA to help produce an answer. The GFOA worked with Colorado Springs to analyze the risks that influence the level of reserves the City needed as a hedge against uncertainty and loss. The results of this project have now been made available as a free research report  that explains how the risks were assessed and translated into an ideal level of reserves for the City to maintain.

The report, along with GFOA’s other research reports, are available at www.gfoa.org/research.

Here is what people are saying about the new report from GFOA:

“Setting clear fiscal policies is one of the most powerful financial management tools available to us in preserving our long-term financial health.  And chief among these are prudent reserve policies. The GFOA has developed an awesome methodology in identifying and assessing the risks that reserves are intended to mitigate; and then provided a structured and practical way of translating these into specific reserve targets.  This tool is invaluable in communicating effective and meaningful reserve policies to senior managers and governing bodies.”

– Bill Statler, Consultant and Trainer; Retired Director of Finance, City of San Luis Obispo, California

“A Risk-Based Analysis of General Fund Reserve Requirements: A Case Study of the City of Colorado Springs”, covers the bases when it comes to categorizing risk. The GFOA applies statistical analysis to such factors as tax revenue volatility, infrastructure risks and extreme events. As a result, this paper, and its underlying mathematical models, provide a rare combination of readability and rigor.”

– Sam L. Savage, Executive Director, ProbabilityManagement.org and Consulting Professor, Stanford University

CSMFO MiniNews Committee Member Feature

Rick TeichertName: Richard Teichert, Chief Financial Officer

Agency: City of Moreno Valley

Committee Chair of: Technology Committee

Q: How long have you been in the municipal finance profession?  I’ve been in the profession since 1983. I had been working as an auditor and accounting supervisor in private industry for five years and was interested in an executive level opportunity. A local transit Joint Powers Authority was recruiting for Finance Director and I was fortunate to be selected for the position at the age of 27. It was an exciting opportunity, because the agency had only been in existence for about four years, so there was a lot of start-up and process development to do, in addition to learning to function on all cylinders as a member of the Executive Team. 

Q: How long have you been a CSMFO member? Served on a CSMFO committee? I joined CSMFO in 1984 at the urging of the finance director of a nearby City. I have enjoyed being an active member of CSMFO ever since. I participated on a local conference committee in 1993 and served as Chapter Chair in 1995. I have been the CSMFO representative on a League Policy Committee for nine years in that time span.

I had a brief break from CSMFO from 2001-2005 while I was Operations Director for Transit Services at Orange County Transportation Authority tasked with running the 1,600 person transit operation, returning as a CSMFO member in 2005.

Most recently, I have participated on the Technology Committee for the past three years, including as Chair this year.

Q: What committee are you a part of now? Why did you become involved with CSMFO’s committee(s)?  I am currently Chair of the Technology Committee. With many years of experience in the profession and with the CSMFO organization, I wanted to utilize this experience to contribute to the strength and future of the organization. I have enjoyed and appreciated all that CSMFO has offered over many years; in fact, I was one of three founding members of a nationwide transit finance group called Transit Finance Learning Exchange (TFLEX) which was patterned after the successful services and support that CSMFO provides to its members.

The Committee positions are the life blood of CSMFO, in addition to the Chapter Chair positions. Contributing at this level provides incredibly rewarding interaction with your peers, who are wonderful people to get to know and work with. It also gives you an incredible inside view of what makes CSMFO successful in providing the wide range of benefits and services to its members. You have the opportunity to have an impact on the future goals and direction of CSMFO, in addition to being in touch with current topics in the industry as the Committees tackle these issues within the CSMFO leadership framework.

Q: How did you come to be involved in the leadership of CSMFO? Having been involved with the organization for many years, I knew a number of the leaders in CSMFO. I was at a point in my career where I had both stability and the time to devote to CSMFO. I contacted a couple of Committee leaders and was invited to join and participate on the Technology Committee, based on the interest that I had expressed. A very simple process, you just need to let someone know you are interested, there are a lot of opportunities to contribute and get involved. 

Q: What are your goals for the committee for the coming year, and how do they relate to the overall organization’s goals? CSMFO is focused on innovation in the profession, continuing education opportunities and the professional development of its members. It provides a network to share knowledge, ideas and experiences about this dynamic and ever changing profession.

The Technology Committee is at the heart of achieving these objectives. We are improving our tools for communication and networking through CSMFO’s website, listserv and social networking sites. We have action plans to upgrade the resource room to make it easier to reference and update the materials to be utilized and shared by our members. Try this link to see what’s available and to see the changes that are in progress.

One of our key goals is to continue to support the Conference Committee through the creation and update of each year’s new conference website. Last year we added the smartphone app to make the conference experience easier, and we will offer an expanded version of this app for the 2014 conference.

We are focused on increasing our social media presence. We are on LinkedIn and more recently we took control of the CSMFO Facebook page (search CSMFO and select the page with our LOGO). Members should visit each of these pages and join/like them. LinkedIn is a great forum for discussion and awareness on a wide range of topical discussions related to the profession. Members’ participation increases the content, depth and value of the information discussed.

The Committee also supports the other Committees to achieve their goals through technology. We are discussing the automation of the Budget Award review process with the Professional Standards Committee. This is a project that makes everyone’s job easier, has a lot of value for the organization and likely will extend into next year as we pursue this concept.

So we have a very active Committee. We provide a great deal of value to the organization from our contributions. I really recommend members getting involved in a Committee of interest to them. It’s a great way to get to know CSMFO from the inside and contribute to the future of our great profession. 

Coaching Corner

“Boost Economic Development in Your Community”

CSMFO webinar recording and materials are available now

Local government finance professionals have an important role to play in economic development, especially following the dissolution of RDAs.

Over 500 local government professionals (from 281 locations) participated on September 11 in the highly-rated webinar: “Economic Development — new strategies and best practices” cosponsored by CSMFO and Cal-ICMA. The webinar combines best practices from around the U.S. plus a helpful set of ideas from Philip Lanzafame, Director of Economic Development in Glendale about ways for CA communities to leverage their assets. He’s also provided templates for the formation of a Local Economic Development Agency, a vehicle for mobilizing economic development in a post-RDA world.

Listen and review presentation and resources:
If you missed the webinar or want to review the resources with others in your agency, a digital audio recording and PDF of the presentation materials and polling results are available online, just click on “Live Audio & Archives” to locate the session and materials. (This also is the location for recordings of other sessions. You and your team have a wealth of information and support available 24/7. Subscribe to audio podcasts of CSMFO sessions on iTunes or your favorite mp3 source–search for “CSMFO”.)

Watch on YouTube:
In addition to the digital audio recording and PDF of the presentation materials archived for all webinars, webinars that address core issues and have substantial shelf life are also available as integrated audio and video recordings on the CSMFOcoaching YouTube channel. You can watch this webinar in its entirety here.

Enjoy the resources available to thrive as a local government professional.

Don Maruska, Master Certified Coach
Director, CSMFO Coaching Program

Welcome New CSMFO Members!

  • Grover McKean, Senior Managing Director, Lebenthal & Co.
  • Tyrell Staheli, Finance Officer, City of Stockton
  • Theresa Carducci, Staff Accountant, Simi Valley
  • Thomas Rice, Financial Analyst, Coachella Valley Water District
  • Tina Donahue, Management Analyst, Coachella Valley Water District
  • Irene Deleon, Senior Accounting Assistant, Coachella Valley Water District
  • Tara Robinson, Accountant, Coachella Valley Water District
  • Victoria Jeffers, Administrative Assistant, Coachella Valley Water District
  • Michael Kek, City Administrator Analyst, Oakland
  • Malisa Day, Vice President, Bank of America – Public Sector Banking
  • Ruby Yuen, Controller, Moulton Niguel Water District
  • Suzanne Wellcome, Interim Administrative Services Director, Imperial Beach
  • Harriet Jacobs, Government Market Sales Director, Great-West Financial


Chapter Meetings

Sacramento-Valley Chapter Meeting – October 16

Future of Sales Tax and Forecasting Sales Tax Revenues
-Lloyd deLlamas, HDL Companies

Education Opportunities

Power of Fiscal Policies/Long Term Financial Planning, Merced, CA
October 23, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

  • Bill Statler

CRA Bond & Disclosure Workshop: What Does the Future Hold, Irvine, CA
October 23, 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

CRA Bond & Disclosure Workshop: What Does the Future Hold, Pleasanton, CA
October 30, 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

2013 CSMFO Annual Weekend Training Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
– November 15, 9:00 a.m. – November 18, 12:00 p.m.

Intermediate Governmental Accounting, Lincoln, CA
– November 12, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Susan Mayer

Intermediate Governmental Accounting, Gilroy, CA
November 12, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Susan Mayer

Career Opportunities

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.