By: Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin
On September 22, 2014, President-Elect Jesse Takahashi coordinated and presided over the CSMFO Strategic Planning Session in Monterey, where our 2015 Annual Conference will be held in a few short months. It was attended by Board members, committee chairs, vice chairs and chapter chairs. The Planning Session reviewed what had been completed to date on the existing three-year plan, and discussed what would be accomplished in the following year. Specifically, the discussion took on a structural tone with regard to how committees and chapters are governed, in addition to direction on CSMFO’s brand. For example, the decision was made that the chapter leadership would consist of a chair and a vice chair, making it easier to facilitate succession planning. We discussed ideas on how CSMFO can reach out to chapters that have logistical issues and determine if CSMFO is meeting the needs of the members in those areas. We are creating a volunteer form, and looking at creating a CSMFO organization-wise communications strategy. Overall, the Strategic Planning Session was very productive and I look forward to seeing our decisions implemented in the future.
Executive Director’s Message
By: Melissa Dixon, CAE
Fall is here, and none too soon! I’m looking forward to autumn colors, shorter days and some much-needed rain!
As we move into October, CSMFO’s activities start ramping up. At the end of October/beginning of November you’ll see your 2015 membership renewal and the 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference registration will officially open. Be on the lookout in your email for those two things—if you don’t get them, contact me!
We look forward to renewing your membership in January and seeing you in Monterey in February!
Initial Speakers and Session Information
2015 CSMFO Annual Conference
“The Changing Tides of California Finance”
By: Tim Seufert, NBS
The CSMFO 2015 Annual Conference Host and Program Committees are diligently completing the educational plan for the upcoming conference in Monterey, and are proud to announce the following:
- Tuesday Preconference session: Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive/CIO, Oakland County, Michigan has been confirmed as the speaker, and will address IT issues relevant to CSMFO members. This proved to be a very popular session last year, and will likely fill up.
- Wednesday’s Early Bird session: Stephen Gauthier from the GFOA will present on topics near and dear to many CSMFO members, and has been a well-recommended session in years past.
- Conference sessions: Michael Coleman, fiscal policy advisor to the CSMFO as well as the League of California Cities, will be a session speaker, as will David Bean, CPA, who will discuss what you need to know about recent and possible future GASB standards. We expect to also have an update on the economy and predictions for 2015, as well as an update from a CalPERS representative.
Many other sessions will be finalized shortly, covering a wide-range of topics includinglocal finance issues such as accounting and financial reporting, budget and financial planning, and treasury/debt management, as well as leadership development and innovation and information technology.
Monterey welcomes the CSMFO for its 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 will start October 31, 2014. Basic information can now be found at www.csmfo.org/csmfo-2015-annual-conference/.
Mark your calendars, make your hotel reservations (the hotel can be reached at (888) 222-5851 and the email address is email@example.com), and get ready for an extra-special annual conference in Monterey.
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 South). 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.
- Jesse Takahashi
- Pamela Arends-King
- Pauline Marx
- Joan Michaels Aguilar
- Steve Heide
- Stephen Parker
- Tracey Hause
- Jennifer Leisz
- Laura Nomura
2015 Nomination Form – Deadline: Friday, October 17.
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.
Live Well Perris
By: City of Perris
Perris is a 103-year-old City in the center of Riverside County. At one point during the housing downturn, the LA Times characterized Perris as California’s “epicenter of mortgage problems.” At approximately the same time, NBC described Perris as “ground zero for Southern California’s economic recession.” The unemployment rate was, at that time, 20%—one of the highest in California. Even today, as the overall economy recovers, almost 40% of Perris residents live below the poverty line. The City Government itself has faced severe financial challenges, experiencing a 30% drop in General Fund revenues and consistent year-over-year deficits.
In addition to fiscal issues, Perris, like so many cities, is plagued by a public health crisis. More than 60% of adults and 15% of teens are considered overweight or obese. More disturbingly, nearly 40% of children tested in Perris elementary schools also fall into the same category. Live Well Perris is a program designed to improve the health of the residents, despite a shortage of funding. In fact, Live Well Perris took what might be considered a weakness—a lack of resources—and turned it into a success factor. All City employees were challenged to come up with ideas for fitness activities and work outside their normal job duties to bring these activities to the community. Of the City’s 50 total employees, more than 30 attended the first Live Well Perris planning meeting. The City’s Administrative Services Manager coordinated a city-wide health fair that drew more than 2,000 residents. The City Clerk and Assistant Finance Director ran a three month “Biggest Loser” contest for City residents. More than 600 people participated in the contest, with the winners losing over 30 pounds each. The Information Technology Manager developed and implemented a series of fitness “boot camps” held in City parks that served hundreds of Perris residents. And these are just some of the many activities that were made possible by City staff members willing to serve the residents of Perris.
Of the dozens of Live Well Perris activities, one of the most successful was the workouts in the park. We learned that many people in the community were not comfortable coming to the City’s gym to participate in structured classes with classmates who were likely more advanced than they were. Every person’s fitness journey begins with a first step and some people need encouragement. So we took the classes to the community. Every Wednesday night and Saturday morning we went with a sound system and an instructor to a different park and conducted classes on basketball courts and soccer fields. People, many of whom had never been to an aerobics class before, began to show up at these informal, family oriented events. The classes were convenient, free, and most of all fun. People were able to exercise in their own neighborhoods, at their own comfort level, and as a result, the attendance at these workouts flourished.
Live Well Perris demonstrated that a large budget is not necessary to conduct an effective public fitness campaign. A dedicated, energetic group of employees can make more of a difference in the community than a program that simply involves spending money. Perris has conducted presentations to other agencies interested in developing similar programs to Live Well Perris. In fact, Perris will participate on a panel at 2014 MMASC Annual Conference. In addition, the City of Perris was awarded the prestigious 2014 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in the category of Health and Wellness Programs by the League of California Cities and had a display booth at the League’s Annual Conference and Expo on September 3rd and 4th of this year. Finally, Live Well Perris has been chosen by the National League of Cities to be showcased at their annual Congress of Cities in Austin, Texas later this year which will allow cities from across North America to see this program first-hand.
CSMFO MiniNews Chapter Chair Spotlight
Q: How long have you been in the municipal finance profession? Why did you choose this profession? How long have you been a CSMFO member?
I was hired at my first City on March 20, 2000 and am now in my 15th year as a finance officer with the last 5 of those years with the City of Lompoc. I received my CPA license in 1998 having gained my field experience with a regional CPA firm specializing in governmental audits – mainly cities and counties. This experience was invaluable to me during my years with my first city and continues to benefit me today. The transition from auditing cities to being the finance officer of a city was smooth and rewarding. At the cities I have worked at, both City Administration and the City Council have been supportive and encouraged my personal growth as I continue to learn about my City and about municipal finance. Part of the learning process included becoming involved in regional organizations such as insurance risk pool joint powers agencies and also CSMFO. I’ve been a member of CSMFO since 2000.
Q: Describe your first chapter meeting experience.
While I do not remember the very first chapter meeting, I do remember a Sacramento Valley Chapter meeting I attended very early in my career at the City of Citrus Heights regarding employee benefits. What I do recall is the Sacramento Valley Chapter encompasses a very large area making attendance quite challenging. From conversations with her, I know the current chapter chair is purposely scheduling meetings at different locations to encourage more participation and has reinvigorated the Sacramento Chapter.
Q: What prompted you to come back and get involved? How did you become Chapter Chair?
While with my first city, I participate in the CSMFO’s coaching program and was lucky enough to be partnered with John O’Sullivan, formerly with KNN Public Finance. John was invaluable with his support during the program and the support continued to my work for the City of Lompoc. John became a mentor of sorts for me and helped me establish a network of professionals I have been able to call upon throughout my career; even as I transitioned from Northern California to the Central Coast.
When Jennifer Sorenson, the prior Central Coast Chapter Chair, announced her retirement, she approached me to be the next Chapter Chair. The positive experience I had from the Coaching Program and knowing the Chapter would be undergoing more transition in the next few years as others in the profession take advantage of retirement or other opportunities helped me make the decision to take over for Jennifer. The great group of members, the relative easy administration of our group and the enjoyable Chapter meetings also contributed to the decision. While I didn’t win an election, I continue to appreciate the support and participation of the other members in the Chapter.
Q: What are your goals for your Chapter for the coming year, and how do they relate to the organization’s overall goals?
The active members of the group all seem to be in the process of moving to newer finance systems or enterprise wide software solutions. We have had Chapter meetings dedicated to the distribution of information about software conversions and had a recent meeting where one of our members was the program. While unstated, one of my goals is to work towards having a more active group. Our local members use the chapter listserve quite a bit and I’ll work on getting training and other information about the chapter using this valuable resource to others in the area.
Q: What advice would you give to people new to the profession and/or CSMFO?
Since local government finance is significantly different than finances for private business and even State or Federal government, I would encourage participation in activities sponsored by CSMFO. My coaching experience with John O’Sullivan has been invaluable to me at multiple times in my career. The more recent focus of CSMFO on webinars and other online educational opportunities are easy to participate in and can be easily fit into your everyday schedule.
When new finance professionals start in my organization, I encourage them to take the Introduction to Government Accounting and then the Intermediate Governmental Accounting courses sponsored by CSMFO. The exposure to the material and the ability to meet others in your field helps the employee with their learning curve and is invaluable to the City.
Finally, the annual CSMFO conference continues to grow and is an excellent opportunity for all members, both new and experienced.
2014 CSMFO Annual Weekend Training Seminar
Date: Friday, November 21 – Sunday, November 23, 2014
Place: Hyatt Place San Jose Downtown
282 Almaden Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 998-0400
Registration Fee: $425 Full Rate / $350 Commuter Rate
Registration Deadline: Friday, October 31, 2014 (Registration has not yet opened for this yet. )
Attendance will be limited to 40 people and full registration includes two nights lodging, meals and seminar materials. All fees must accompany your registration and be received by the October 31, 2014 deadline. There will be a $35 processing fee for any changes or cancellations made prior to the October 31, 2014 deadline. No refunds, changes or cancellations will be processed after that deadline.
Please Note: This is a professional educational training session limited to finance officers and their appropriate staff members. The weekend is planned to net each attendee approximately 20 hours of professional educational training and the opportunity to enhance interaction with fellow members by remaining “in community” throughout the weekend. Meals (lunch and dinner) along with morning and afternoon breaks have been planned to accommodate average needs; should you have special dietary or personal needs, please indicate on the registration form following.
Receipt of your completed registration form and fee prior to the October 31, 2014 deadline will assure your place at the seminar. Room Reservations will be made on your behalf. Confirmations will be made by e-mail no later than November 1, 2014. Upon check-in at the hotel, each participant will be required to show ID and present a credit card for incidentals. Overnight parking is available for a nominal fee. Questions regarding the seminar should be directed to Mark Uribe (805) 388-5358.
The Career Development Committee is excited about presenting this “Annual” training opportunity and anticipates a fulfilling, rewarding experience for all. We look forward to seeing you in San Jose!!
Upcoming CSMFO Webinars
“Leading by Example – Developing Your Leadership Values and Narrative” 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 15, 2014
- What’s the value of being explicit about your values and how you live them?
- What are useful ways for people at any stage of their careers to identify their values?
- How do you develop a description or story about how they guide your work and your direction?
- Al Vanderberg, County Manager, Ottawa County, MI
- Audrey Seymour Ramberg, Assistant City Manager, Redwood City, CA
- Dr. Ray Benedetto, Principal, GuideStar
Welcome New CSMFO Members!
- Angelica Vargas, Accounts Payable, South San Joaquin Chapter
- Robert Ruiz, Finance Director, South San Joaquin Valley Chapter
- Sarina Revillar, Financial Services Manager, Peninsula Chapter
- Fred Marsh, Finance Director, East Bay Chapter
- William Castrillon Sr., Budget and Financial Analyst, Central Los Angeles Chapter
- Chris Young, Business Development, Peninsula Chapter
- Donna Lee, Director of Finance, Sacramento Valley Chapter
- Ann Ritzma, Human Resources Director, Peninsula Chapter
Central Los Angeles & South Bay Chapters Meeting – October 30
Current Sales Tax Trends and Issues
-Speaker: Lloyd de Llamas, Executive Chairman
Orange County Chapter and CMTA Division IX – October 30
Public Funds Investing Made Easy
-Speaker: Paul Jarvish, Aaron Bonck and Peter Becker, Time Value Investments, Inc.
Power of Fiscal Policies (Morning), Madera, CA
– October 16, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
– October 16, 8:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
Long Term Financial Planning (Afternoon), Madera, CA
– October 16, 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Bill Statler – Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
Intermediate Governmental Accounting, Shafter, CA
– November 13, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Susan Mayer
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.