• Willdan Financial Services
    • Bartle Wells
    • CSMFO with Sponsor

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: Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin


It has been an honor to serve for the past twelve months as the President of California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO).  While representing CSMFO at the Washington Finance Officers Association, the Oregon Finance Officers Association and the Alaska Government Finance Officers Association I was proud to learn that CSMFO is highly regarded among our peer organizations.  That reflects the dedication and talents of our members who have worked so hard to make CSMFO the quality organization it is.  Moving into the role of Past President I look forward to working with the Chapters.

CSMFO produces an annual report summarizing its accomplishments for the year.  Each Committee, Chapter and Executive Committee member contributes to the report by discussing their accomplishments.  I highly recommend reading the report, which will be posted to our website this month.  The report illustrates that 2014 was a highly productive year for CSMFO and reiterates that we are meeting our vision and goals and providing value for our members and other organizations that partner with and/or attend our training sessions and events.  I want to thank everyone that helped make this a successful year.


Executive Director’s Message

By: Melissa Dixon, CAE

I know it’s still two weeks away, but all I can think of is Conference Conference Conference. It’s All Conference All The Time around here at the CSMFO office these days. I’m happy to share with you that we closed preregistration for the conference with over 900 registrations.  Between the educational lineup and the draw of the central coast, it’s no wonder this is the largest Northern California Annual Conference to date!

I have to remember, however, that we’re also in the midst of membership renewals. And it’s my job to remind you all to renew for 2015 prior to the end of February.  If your membership isn’t up to date by March 1, you won’t make it into the 2015 Membership Directory.  To date, 1380 of our 1939 members have renewed. Let’s increase that number before next month, shall we?

Lastly, if you’ve been thinking about getting involved on a committee, now is the time!  The committee year starts and ends with the conference, which means if you volunteer now you can get started at the beginning of the new term. To sign up, fill out the form on the website.

That does it for me for February. I look forward to seeing so many of you in Monterey!

Registration is open for the 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference

2015 CSMFO Annual Conference

ATTEND the 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference!

By: Tim Seufert, NBS

Your 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference Host Committee requests you to ATTEND! If you already have signed up, please ATTEND. If you have yet to sign up, there is still chance to ATTEND.

This year’s conference promises to be a great success. Pre-registration to date has been very strong, and the list of educational sessions and other networking opportunities is robust.

There are now 33 confirmed informative sessions on CalPERS, GASB, treasury and debt management, IT and cyber security, revenues, water rates, and leadership skills. We are targeting 22 potential CPE credits throughout the conference, too. We have engaging keynote speakers, including an update from Beacon Economics and the ever popular Coleman Report, by local finance expert Michael Coleman (the Coleman Report will be repeated on Friday morning, too).

There are a number of preconference sessions and programs on IT, local governmental revenue options, GFOA updates, and innovative government partnerships around Monterey: Limited spaces are still available, so sign up for those particular sessions now.

The exhibit hall starts early this year on Wednesday morning, with desserts and other scheduled events throughout the conference. Of course, there will also be great networking opportunities, day and night. The Thursday evening banquet will feature magic, gaming tables, music, dancing, tasty food and drinks, and good times.

Last but not least, there is much to do before and after the conference: Golf and tennis tournaments, wine tour, kayaking, hiking and exploring, Thursday morning fun run, etc.

For conference details, and the latest updates, refer to www.csmfo.org/csmfo-2015-annual-conference/. The 2015 CSMFO Annual Conference will run from February 17-20, 2015 in downtown Monterey.

And an early thanks to all our sponsors—and especially our Diamond sponsors, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, and Wells Fargo!








Like us on Facebook – Campaign Extended!

The CSMFO Like Us on Facebook campaign has been extended! Join your fellow members and Like Us on Facebook and you could win a new Kindle!

There are several advantages to using the CSMFO Facebook Page. The page contains:

  • Important information from CSMFO including chapter meeting information, job announcements, conference information, etc.
  • Membership highlights to help you get to know your fellow members and expand your network.
  • Current technical and academic postings from our valuable Associates

In addition, the Facebook Page will be used throughout the upcoming conference in Monterey to provide updates and share other important conference information and photos.

The campaign has been extended through the conference to February 20, 2015! Like Us on Facebook by February 20, 2015 and you will be entered in a raffle to win a new Kindle. The winner must be a current CSMFO member, so join today. The winner will be announced in the March edition of the Mini-News.

Visit the Facebook page regularly for valuable information. This is a great way to connect and network with other CSMFO members through social media. Like Us today! You could win a Kindle!








Get the CSMFO  Conference App!

The CSMFO Conference mobile application is available again this year! It is on Guidebook and will again simplify and enhance your conference experience! In one place you have the maps of the facility, the session descriptions, speaker biographies and a place to design your own schedule! In addition, we have expanded the exhibitor information. Read what all the companies can provide to assist you in your operations, check out their web site and locate their space in the exhibit hall.

GuidebookHow to Get the CSMFO Conference App:

  • Download “Guidebook” from your smartphone app
  • Open “Guidebook” on your smartphone and search for “CSMFO”
  • Click on “CSMFO 2014 Conference”

From there…

List of Sessions will give you a list of every session held at the Conference, in alphabetical order; Schedule will give you a day-by-day list in order of activity. In either of these places, if you click on a session you can add it to your “to do” list, and set reminders for yourself on which sessions you wanted to attend when (and the app will tell you in which meeting room they’re located!).

Exhibitors/Sponsors gives you a list of exhibitors and sponsors sorted first by level and then alphabetical. Click on any vendor and it will provide you with their booth number in the Exhibit Hall; click on the booth number and it drops a pin on the map of the Exhibit Hall.

Maps shows you a floor plan of the meeting space for the Conference. Click on any room to see a list of sessions taking place in that room; you can add to your “to do” list from here as well.

Contribute Photos to the Album allows you to upload your smartphone pictures to a group album that everyone who has the app can view. Help us populate the album!

Check the Inbox for any messages CSMFO might need to share with you!

The best part? Any time there’s a change to the app (schedule change, room change, etc.), your phone will ask you to download an update—so you’re always kept in the know!

CSMFO Mobile App






Special Discounted Registration Fee on GFOA’s 109th Annual Conference to State/Provincial Representatives and Presidents

By: Government Finance Officers Association

As mentioned in recent postings to Group Hub, we would like to offer GROA’s state/provincial representatives and presidents the government member early discounted registration fee of $380 on the GROA’s 109th Annual Conference. Submit the enclosed conference registration form (discount is written on the form) to the GFOA by May 1, 2015.

After I register for the conference, what’s next?

Reserve your hotel room through GFOA’s official housing company, Experient. Go to www.gfoa.org to reserve your housing online or to download the hotel reservation form to e-mail, fax, or mail to Experient.

Plan on attending the GFOA’s state/provincial representatives and presidents meeting on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (time and room number TBA). An agenda will be posted to Group Hub before the meeting date.

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia! Ouestions? Email conference@gfoa.org.


The Value of Attending the ‘Wrong Meetings’

By: Scott P. Johnson, Partner, Advisory Services; MGO

During my 29 year career as a Finance Director and Assistant City Administrator/Manager for a number of local agencies in California, I had multiple opportunities to attend the League of City Manager’s conference, but never attended.  Instead, I focused exclusively on CSMFO or other “finance” training and networking opportunities.  After all, I was a Finance Director, not a City Manager.  We had to be strategic on spending our limited training budgets, especially during times of limited resources.  These were all good reasons and it is important that finance professionals continue their professional growth.  However, there is so much more we can learn by “attending the wrong meeting”…let me explain.

As of January 2015, I became a Partner with MGO heading up the firm’s State and Local Government Advisory Services.  – with the aim of creating a government ‘center of excellence’ that identifies and develops solutions and best practices in public sector operations as well as focusing on initiatives that help public agencies achieve long-term fiscal sustainability.   Therefore, I was interested in attending this year’s City Manager’s conference to hear first-hand from city managers on their ideas and perspectives related to challenges they see in local government.  My passion has been, and continues to be, serving local agencies and helping them develop long-term operational and fiscal solutions that result in providing excellent services to their communities.

Nearly 400 city managers, assistant managers, and county chief administrative officers attended this year’s City Managers Conference.  The League of California Cities and the City Manager’s Department did a fabulous job of providing a conference with value added content.  Those that attended were interested in continuing their professional education, networking with their colleagues, hearing about and discussing current and trending topics, and learning about new products, services, and technologies that can better serve their city/county.

What struck me as I attended the conference was a reflection I had as a former Finance Director and as Past President and Board member of CSMFO.  That is, I had not focused on the City Manager’s conference in the past, but instead kept up-to-date on municipal finance issues primarily through attending the CSMFO conference and training events as well as GFOA and AGA events.  However, it was during the last session during the conference, “Nobody Moved Your Cheese” with keynote speaker, Ross Shafer that really had me thinking about this.  My reflection was based on a suggestion he made, which was “attend the wrong meetings”.  He went on to explain that if you are at a conference, and there are multiple conferences going at the conference center at the same time, feel free to “drop in” and “audit” a session that has nothing to do with your conference or discipline; you are bound to learn something new.

Taking Ross’s suggestion further, I reflected that a number of finance directors may have a desire to be a city manager or an assistant city manager someday.  Makes sense that they attend this conference.  For that matter, from the perspective of a former finance director, wouldn’t it be a good idea for finance directors to hone in and be aware of the topics of the City Manager’s conference and maybe even attend along with their City Manager to witness first-hand what city manager’s issues are and the topics of interest that they will likely bring back to them and the rest of the City’s executive team?   Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to expand your network as well as broaden your professional perspective?   My advice; if your City Manager asks you if you would like to attend the City Manager’s conference, take him/her up on it, you won’t regret it.  It could make a big difference on your professional perspective and help you gain broader insight to carry out your duties as municipal finance professionals.

Finally, if you have an opportunity to attend one of Ross Shafer’s sessions in the future, I highly recommend you do so.  Jay Leno has said of Ross “Finally a motivational speaker without the speech”.  I appreciated the messages he left with me as “take-a ways” to add to my professional toolbox.  His personal story inspired me.  He had great advice to take personal responsibility in your professional and personal life.  He emphasized that excuses and blame get you nowhere and how paying attention to the small stuff leads to big rewards, as well as the importance of keeping your professional and personal life in perspective.  I’ll have to make a plug to the CSMFO Conference Program Committee; maybe Ross can be a keynote at a future CSMFO conference.  Speaking of conferences, I’m looking forward to seeing you all later this month at this year’s CSMFO conference in Monterey.  The program looks very exciting and packed full of great professional development opportunities.

CSMFO MiniNews Committee Member Spotlight

Name: Will Fuentes
Agency: City of Union City
Committee Vice Chair of: Career Development Committee


Q: How long have you been in the municipal finance profession? Why did you choose this profession?

I’ve been in municipal finance since 1998 and will be completing my 17th year in August.  I chose municipal finance because I had a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a love of history and politics. My college roommate’s father, Michael Dvorak, was a State Representative in Indiana and he taught me how a person with integrity could have a positive influence in the public sector.  I worked on several campaigns for him and greatly enjoyed it.  Municipal finance has provided me a tremendous opportunity to leverage my educational background while at the same time aligning with my personal passions.

Q: How long have you been a CSMFO member? Served on a CSMFO committee?

I was a member in the early 2000s, and served as a budget reviewer during that time, but I’ve only been really active in the past year. There was a stretch of time when I was not a member, since my agency was having budget difficulties and most memberships were eliminated.  I’m happy to be back in good standing with CSMFO.  I’ve served on the Career Development Committee since February 2014.

Q: What committee are you a part of now? Why did you become involved with CSMFO’s committee(s)?

The Career Development Committee.  I am a strong supporter of staff development and growth and the Career Development Committee fits perfectly with those beliefs.  The staff within our respective agencies is our most valuable resource by far and it is incumbent upon us as supervisors to ensure that they have access and opportunity to attend high-quality professional development so that they can be successful in their current roles and work towards their own personal goals, which always has a direct impact on the success of any organization.

Q: How did you come to be involved in the leadership of CSMFO?

I have been organizing Intermediate Governmental Accounting classes for the past year in partnership with my colleague Carrie Corder, CFO for the Cucamonga Valley Water District.  After a successful year of classes, I was asked by Jesse Takahashi, CSMFO President-Elect, to be Vice Chair of the Career Development Committee in 2015. I was honored by this request, and the recommendation given to President-Elect Takahashi by Career Development Committee Chair Scott Catlett, and gladly accepted.  CSMFO has given so much to me and my agency and I feel that being a Committee Vice Chair will allow me to continue giving back.

Q: What are your goals for the committee for the coming year, and how do they relate to the organization’s overall goals?

The Career Development Committee had a very successful 2014 with great educational and development opportunities provided to CSMFO membership statewide. I would like to expand upon that success by continuing the geographical dispersion of our core courses, identifying additional core courses that are of interest and need to members, educating members on the value of the coaching program and building up good participation, and planning for another successful Weekend Training with my Committee colleagues.  I look forward to drawing upon my experience, education, strategic mindset and belief in continuous process improvement to fulfill one of CSMFO’s primary goals of continuing the education and professional development of our members.   2014 was a great year for our Committee and I’m very excited about what 2015 will bring!   


Coaching Corner

“Take Some Time to Brush Up on Your Accounting and Reporting”

Are you up to date on important accounting and financial reporting issues? In a highly rated CSMFO webinar on January 21, over 250 people gained important clarifications and tips on key issues such as how to handle the number and types of funds, transfers, special vs. extraordinary items, deferred revenue, preparing your MD&As, OPEB, and more.

If you missed this session with national expert, Greg Allison, you can tap a high-quality digital video recording at the “Agendas & Archives” tab of www.csmfo.org/training/webinars.


Welcome New CSMFO Members!

  • Julie Glendinning, Finance Supervisor, Solvang, Central Coast Chapter
  • Kashmir Gill, Assistant Auditor-Controller, Stanislaus County, Central Valley Chapter
  • Erwin Kosasih, Accountant II, Ventura, Channel Counties Chapter
  • Abraham Maldonado, Accountant II, Ventura, Channel Counties Chapter
  • Genie Wilson, Finance Director, Goleta, Channel Counties Chapter
  • Enanato Arugu, Asst. Business Manager, The GEO Group Inc. – Adelanto Detention Facility, Desert Mountain Chapter
  • Jacque Lynn-Chamberlain, Accountant, Barstow, Desert Mountain Chapter
  • Maria Oberg, Finance Director, Emeryville, East Bay Chapter
  • Juan Gomez, Sr Accountant, Pleasanton, East Bay Chapter
  • Katano Kasaine, Treasurer, Oakland, East Bay Chapter
  • Colleen Tribby, Administrative Services Director, Dublin, East Bay Chapter
  • Nat Rojanasathira, Assistant to the Town Manager, Danville, East Bay Chapter
  • Chun Chan, Management Anaylst, Fremont, East Bay Chapter
  • Lucia Hughes, CDBG Administrator, Fremont, East Bay Chapter
  • Lani Ha, Accounting Manager, , East Bay Chapter
  • Tai Williams, Community Development Director, Danville, East Bay Chapter
  • Marina Smotkin, Fiscal Services Coordinator, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, East Bay Chapter
  • Julie Lam, Financial Analyst, Port of Oakland, East Bay Chapter
  • Dustin Claussen, Deputy Director of Finance, Hayward, East Bay Chapter
  • Phillip White, Partner, Vavrinek Trine Day & Co., LLP, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Mark Cousineau, Member/Unaffiliated/Student, Association of Government Accountants, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Susan Justice, PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT, City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Rochelle Clayton, Chief Financial Officer, Hi-Desert Water District, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Queenie Galvez Ramiro, Analyst, Willdan Financial Services, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Zaskia Ruiz Jones, Project Manager, Willdan Financial Services, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Faby Sandoval, Accountant, Chino, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Evelyn Medina, Senior Accountant, Van Lant & Fankhanel, LLP, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Maria Blanco, Financial Analyst, Ontario, Inland Empire Chapter
  • Margaret Hone, Sr. Account Tech., Hollister, Monterey Bay Chapter
  • Cecilia Rodriguez, SR ACCT TECH, Hollister, Monterey Bay Chapter
  • Angela Dawson, Accountant, Monterey Salinas Transit, Monterey Bay Chapter
  • Clinton Hendricks, Finance Manager, Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, Monterey Bay Chapter
  • Alan Alton, Deputy Director – Finance, Santa Rosa, North Coast Chapter
  • Jill Martin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mendocino County, North Coast Chapter
  • Alan Flora, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Mendocino County, North Coast Chapter
  • Frances Kuo, CPA, The Pun Group, LLP, Orange County Chapter
  • Gonzalo Mosquera, Financial Advisor, Irvine, Orange County Chapter
  • Richard Chenette, President, Go Live Technology, Inc., Orange County Chapter
  • Kriste Saldana, Fiscal Services Manager, Fullerton, Orange County Chapter
  • Frank Gill, Vice President, Holman Capital Corporation, Orange County Chapter
  • Thomas Tight, Managing Director, Public Trust Advisors, Out of State
  • John Grady, Managing Director, Public Trust Advisors, Out of State
  • Carolina Yuen, Financial Systems Analyst, Millbrae, Peninsula Chapter
  • Jimmy Salandanan, Mr, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Peninsula Chapter
  • Josephine Fiti Rusli, Accounting Manager, Foster City, Peninsula Chapter
  • Melissa Ynegas, Account Technician, Los Gatos, Peninsula Chapter
  • Susan Goodison, Supervising Financial Analyst, Sacramento, Sacramento Valley Chapter
  • Christina Lokke, Legislative Representative, California Special Districts Association, Sacramento Valley Chapter
  • Colin Bettis, Treasury Analyst, Sacramento, Sacramento Valley Chapter
  • Kim McCorstin, LAIF Administrator, State Treasurer’s Office, Sacramento Valley Chapter
  • Kimberly Maxwell, Finance Specialist, North County Fire Protection District, San Diego County Chapter
  • Debra Oestreich, Senior Accountant, Poway, San Diego County Chapter
  • Diana Acosta, Controller, Tri-City Mental Health Authority, San Gabriel Valley Chapter
  • Sharon Griffin, Principal, SDG Financial Services, LLC, San Gabriel Valley Chapter
  • Brittany Aguilar, Senior Accountant, Glendora, San Gabriel Valley Chapter
  • Anna Reyes, Budget Analyst, Redondo Beach, South Bay Chapter
  • Kathy Ives, Chief Finance Officer, First 5 Kern County, South San Joaquin Valley Chapter

Chapter Meetings

Orange Country Chapter and CMTA Division IX – February 26, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Reducing Unfunded Liabilities
-Speaker: Lori Ann Farrell, Finance Director for the City of Huntington Beach


Education Opportunities

Investment Accounting Training & Latest Developments, Union City, CA

– March 10, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  • Debra Goodnight, Managing Director PFM
  • Ken Al-Imam, CPA, Shareholder Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.

Intermediate Governmental Accounting, Irvine, CA

– March 12, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Susan Mayer

Introduction to Government Accounting, Lake Forest, CA

– March 25, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

  • Ahmed Badawi, Partner with Badawi & Associates

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.