• Chandler Asset Management
  • Willdan Financial Services
  • Harris.
  • Cutwater Asset Management
  • PFM Asset Management LLC
  • Bartle Wells Associates

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: Laura Nomura, City of Riverside

I can’t believe it’s already November!  Are you ready for the holidays?
The leadership of CSMFO had a busy October.  On October 15-16, 2012 we held our Annual Strategic Planning Workshop and Board meeting in Oakland, California.  The Strategic Planning session was led by President-Elect Pauline Marx and facilitated by Don Maruska, Director of CSMFO’s Coaching Program and contracted facilitator.  We had a wonderful turnout of approximately 30 individuals who participated including past presidents, Board members, committee chairs and vice chairs and chapter chairs. I know Pauline and I both appreciated the great turnout!

CSMFO is entering Year Three of our Three-Year Strategic Plan.  Don does a great job of leading us through the strategic planning process.  Before we started in on the “nitty-gritty” of looking at where we are on the objectives set for 2012 and designing those for 2013, he asked us three questions in relation to CSMFO’s Strategic Context:

  1. What’s changed since last year that CSMFO’s Strategic Plan didn’t anticipate?
  2. What needs does this create for members that CSMFO might address?
  3. What new hopes or vision do we have for CSMFO?

Well, these questions spear-headed a wonderful discussion of the many challenges we have faced this past year as municipal finance professionals.  I think we all agree there have been many: Demands on our membership resulting from decisions made by the State; upcoming changes with GASB; the need for finance professionals to be multifaceted; concerns over our agencies future fiscal sustainability; more public inquiries; and the list goes on.

With all of these challenges, our members have many needs, which include: more sharing amongst each other; possible advocacy in dealing with the State; focused training on changes that are occurring and their financial implications; training on new areas of expertise and support in pursuing them; etc.  Overall, just making sure we meet the needs of all our members.

For the future, the leadership of CSMFO all agreed that we need to continue to address and deal with the critical needs where CSMFO can provide distinctive value; continue to do what we are good at– which includes training, responsiveness to changes, etc.; expand our understanding of CSMFO’s diverse membership and what’s of particular value to them; connect with our commercial members to get the best information out to local government finance professionals; and lastly, develop guidelines for best practices for the profession.

This initial conversation really set the stage to a very productive day.  We moved on to identifying the status of 2012 objectives which are scheduled to be completed by February 2013 and set new targets for 2013-14.  The strategic objectives outlined for 2013-14 will be presented for approval by the Board at our upcoming meeting in December.  As we work on achieving these organizational goals, we will continue to keep you engaged and informed through postings on our website, articles in the MiniNews, and collaboration with the committees and chapters.

In addition, to the serious work that we do in moving our organization forward through strategic planning, each year it is the President-Elect’s responsibility to plan and execute a team-building exercise in the afternoon to build camaraderie amongst our volunteer leadership.  Pauline did a great job in planning the exercise this year, which involved a cooking class.  We broke up in teams, worked with chefs from the area and prepared a marvelous dinner for the group.  It was fun working outside of our comfort zone and sharing various tasks amongst many different personalities.  It seemed like everyone had a great time and valued the opportunity to get to know each other better.  Thanks Pauline for leading us through a very rewarding day!

The following morning, it was back to business with our monthly Board meeting with reports for a number of work products completed or in progress.  The significant items discussed included the approval of the 2013 Annual Conference Budget; review of the 2013 Preliminary Organizational Budget; results from the 2012 Consultant Contract Reviews and proposed changes to the CAFR Award program.

I would just like to thank everyone who attended our two-day Board retreat.  I know your schedules are very busy and also know how hard it can be carving two days away from the office.  We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group helping CSMFO move forward in a positive and productive manner.  And also a big “Thank you” to your respective agencies for supporting you and CSMFO!

2013 Election of Officers

The 2013 Nominating Committee met during the last week of October to finalize the slate of candidates for the upcoming Election of Officers.  The 2013 Election will be held to fill the expiring terms of Board member from the north, Jesse Takahashi; Board member from the south, John Adams;  and President-Elect for 2013.  I’m sure you will find the list of candidates impressive in their professional accomplishments and involvement within CSMFO.  All of the candidates have clearly articulated a vision for desiring to serve the organization in an official capacity as either Board member or President-Elect.  All individuals put forth before the Nominating Committee should be commended for being nominated and agreeing to submit themselves through the process.  We had many worthy applicants!

Special thanks to the following who served as the 2012 Nominating Committee:
•    President-Elect Pauline Marx
•    President Laura Nomura
•    Past President Scott Johnson
•    Board Member John Adams
•    Committee Chair Barbara Boswell
•    Chapter Chair Scott Catlett
•    Chapter Chair Stuart Schillinger
•    Member at Large Mary Dodge
•    Member at Large Steve Groom

Please remember to exercise your right to vote as a municipal member of CSMFO.  You should have already received your electronic ballot via email.  Voting ends at 11:59 p.m., November 30.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Executive Director’s Message

By: Melissa Dixon, CAE

Happy November everyone!  (Where has the year gone??)

As it’s November, a few important things are going to be coming down the e-pike to you all this month.

1.  Membership Renewals.  Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Emails to all our members were sent out on Thursday, November 1, reminding you to renew your membership for 2013.  If you did not receive yours (or if you’d prefer a hard-copy invoice be mailed to you), please let us know!

2.  Board Elections.  The Nominating Committee has identified the slate for the elections and a ballot was distributed via email to all members Tuesday, November 6.  The names you’ll find on the ballot are:

Pamela Arends-King – City of Tustin
Christy Pinuelas – City of Agoura Hills

North Board Member
Joan Michaels Aguilar – City of Dixon

South Board Member
Margaret Moggia – West Basin Municipal Water District
Rick Teichert – City of Moreno Valley

You’ll have until 11:59 p.m. on November 30 to cast your vote; results will be announced in the December MiniNews.

While you’re all voting, President-Elect Pauline Marx will be thinking about her 2013 committee appointments.  If you’re at all interesting in getting involved, we’re always looking for new volunteers.  Make the most of your membership by becoming part of the CSMFO leadership!

3.  Conference Registration Opens.  Registration opens November 15 with early-bird prices for all our government and commercial members.  Take advantage of the discount and register early!  (The committee this year has something very out-of-the-box planned for this year’s banquet—you’ll want ot be able to say you were there!)

4.  Exhibitor & Sponsorship Registration Opens.  Also later this month all our commercial members will receive a notice that we’re accepting sign-ups for the 2013 Annual Conference, California Finance…And All That Jazz, February 20-22 at the Oakland Marriott.  Sign up early to secure your exhibit space!

Last but not least, I want to make sure you’re all aware that the CSMFO office has moved!  We’re in the same building, but have a new suite number.  Please note the new information below.

I wish all of you a happy heading-into-the-holidays-even-though-it-still-seems-like-June season!

1215 K Street, Suite 940
Sacramento, CA  95814

Save the Date: CSMFO Conference

By: Interim Finance Director, City of San Rafael

It’s not too early to start planning for the 2013 CSMFO Annual Conference. Make sure your mid-year budget updates, winter sports and other activities don’t conflict with the conference dates (February 20-22, 2013). The Oakland Marriott City Center will serve as the conference hotel. The Marriott is connected to the Oakland Convention Center, which is home to all of the breakout sessions, the exhibit hall and conference events. Visit the CSMFO hotel web page for more information. This link also provides access to the special CSMFO conference room rate of $172 per night plus tax.

The CSMFO Board will meet this month to approve the conference budget and conference registration rates. There is sure to be an early bird registration rate, so look for the announcement coming soon!

The Program Committee is working on another production of general sessions and breakout sessions that make the CSMFO Annual Conference one of the best educational values for public finance officials nationwide.

Things to do:
October – Check out the conference hotel. Clear your calendar for the conference.
November – Take advantage of early bird registration. Make hotel reservations.
December – Enjoy the holidays!
January – Head back to work.
February – Attend the CSMFO Annual Conference!

Conference Registration Opens On November 15th!

California Finance……And All That Jazz

Mark Your Calendar: February 19-22, 2013
Marriott City Center Hotel and Convention Center
Oakland, CA

Once again this year, we are pleased to help you with those tight training budgets by offering an early government member’s registration fee for only $325! This reduced fee is only available until January 7, 2013.  The member rate then goes to $375 until February 6, 2013.*

CSMFO is continuing their commitment to going “Green” and therefore will NOT be mailing out a registration brochure. Everything you need to know regarding the conference and registration will be available at our website by the middle of November. An e-mail blast will be sent out to the membership to let you know when online registration is open.

For non-members this is your time to join CSMFO.  The early registration fee for non-members is $460 until January 7, 2013.  But, think about it…..if you join now for $110 and then register for the conference at the early rate of $325 you save $25 and you will be part of the largest government sector professional group in California.  So join CSMFO now and start reaping the benefits of membership!

* On sight registration fees will be in effect after that date.

IRS Payroll Tax Audits

By: David Hale, CPA , Tax Partner, LSL, CPA’s

There are a variety of areas covered when tasked with an IRS Payroll Tax Audit. We can cover areas of examination, preparing for the audit, how to reduce your odds of being selected for an audit, the care and feeding of your IRS agent, and relief provisions if they have any issues with worker classification.

In this article, I want to visit the relief provisions to make sure all are aware of their availability, should you have an issue with the IRS relating to worker classification. These relief provisions will allow you to reduce the cost now owed when the IRS reclassifies someone from an independent contractor, to an employee, resulting in you having to report their compensation through your payroll system.

The office of Federal, State and Local Government (FSLG) is responsible for Federal tax administration issues relating to government entity employers. FSLG’s primary objective is to promote compliance with employment tax/withholding reporting (941, W2, employee benefits) and information reporting (1099s) requirements by governmental units and their subordinate agencies.

FSLG is also responsible for ensuring compliance with FICA coverage agreements under Section 218 of the Social Security Act.

It spent approximately five years in education/outreach programs to governmental entities, and now are auditing those entities to ensure compliance, while it continues to conduct educational outreach.

IRS publication 963
This publication is a good source for basic issues relating to employee/independent contractor classification issues. For example, pages four through eight list examples of positions that constitute “public office.” Holders of public office are presumed to be employees receiving wages, and compensation should be processed through your payroll system, and not reported as 1099 income. This means all council members, members of boards, commission members and elected officials all need to be treated as employees for compensation purposes. Their compensation, no matter how small or infrequent, must be run through your payroll system, and NOT handled by issuing a 1099 to them as independent contractors.

There are many other situations that would require judgment in properly classifying a worker, which is a whole separate issue and not covered in this particular article. For instance, be careful when you hire an ex-employee as an independent contractor. Check with us or your CPA if you need assistance in determining the proper worker classifications.

If you are involved in a payroll tax audit, and the issue of employee classification is part of the findings of the agent, you must know that there are relief provisions available to lessen the amount of the assessment. This relief is only available in conjunction with an audit, and only relating to worker classification issues (such as commissioners being treated as independent contractors and the agent reclassifies them as employees).

  • Make sure the statute of limitation applies
    • They can only assess tax on returns up to three years from the due date of the return, if timely filed.
  • See if you qualify for section 530 relief
    • A worker will not be reclassified if
      • You have a reasonable basis for not treating them as employees
        • Such as it is a standard in your industry
      • Consistent application
        • You have always treated them and similar workers as independent contractors
      • Reporting consistency
        • You have always reported the payments to them on 1099 MISC.
  • If no section 530 relief is available, ask for relief under 3509(a) or (b)
    • These are reduced rates of tax that are assessed
      • Federal income tax (FIT) is only 1.5 percent of the reclassified wages; employee FICA and Medicare taxes assessed will be only 20 percent of the current rate. Employer FICA and Medicare rates are 100 percent of the current rate.
    • This is a one-time opportunity to correct the tax treatment of what the IRS considers misclassified employees.
      • There are circumstances that will disqualify you from this relief, but basically if you have been consistent in your treatment of them, and the agent feels you are trying to comply and you have a reasonable basis for treating them as you have, they will usually grant this relief.
    • If you do not qualify for relief under 3509(a), relief under 3509(b) is similar, however the rates are higher, but they are still less than the standard rates (40 percent instead of 20 percent of the amounts presented above; and 3 percent instead of 1.5 percent on FIT).
  • Case Settlement Program (CSP)
    • Once you receive the reduced rate, ask to have the CSP applied (this is under the discretion of the agent).
      • You will enter into a written agreement with the IRS that you will treat all workers in the classification in question as an employee in the future.
      • They will assess you the tax (under regular rates or under the 3509 (a) or (b) rates) for only one year.
      • Then they will apply a 25 percent rate to the tax, which means they will assess you only 25% of the tax computed.
        • So you might receive the reduced rates, as well as only 25 percent of the rate applied, to only one year.
      • Then the IRS will agree to not assess you for this classification for any other previous years (as long as you treat them as employees in the future).

If you happen to be the unlucky recipient of an audit notice, and an issue arises relating to employee classification, utilize these relief provisions to minimize the amount of assessment. If you should have any questions relating to any other aspect of an IRS payroll tax audit (which covers many areas in addition to worker classification), we are available to assist you. I will update you with more tips as these audits continue.

Visit www.lslcpas.com for further information

Be a Host for CSMFO’S Accounting and Fiscal Policy Classes

Do you want to be more involved with CSMFO? Consider hosting one of our classes in 2013!

In case you didn’t know, CSMFO offers Introductory, Intermediate Governmental Accounting and Fiscal Policy Training classes throughout the year. Each class is taught separately by highly respected instructors.

The Accounting classes are appropriate for individuals that have some accounting background, but may be new to the government sector or for employees who have recently assumed responsibility for financial and accounting reporting.  The classes are also appropriate for anyone interested in brushing up on basic government accounting skills. Once a basic understanding of accounting concepts is reached, these concepts can easily be applied to the unique requirements of the governmental area.

Host Site Requirements for the Accounting classes include:

  • A minimum of 20 registrants
  • Seating for 60 participants with tables and chairs
  • 1 rectangular table up front for speaker
  • Table and chair in back for registration
  • ***Room open and available at 8:00 a.m. for set-up (*** 7:30 a.m. for Intermediate classes)
  • Parking alternatives for up to 60 participants, preferably free parking
  • A computer with a remote to advance PowerPoint slides
  • A port to allow for a USB flash drive
  • A screen and projector

The host site will need to provide lunch (with beverages) and light morning/afternoon refreshments for the attendees.  The host site will be reimbursed actual costs up to $15 per attendee, including the instructor, by CSMFO.

The Fiscal Policy Training classes are offered as ½ or 1 day sessions. Good times come and go, but your values shouldn’t – which is what fiscal policies are all about. Setting clearly articulated fiscal policies builds a strong foundation for protecting your agency’s long-term fiscal health. As recent economic events have shown, no agency is immune to economic downturns. But agencies with clear fiscal policies in place with a tradition of following them have a significant strategic edge over those that don’t. Policies make tough decisions easier by providing guidance both when times are good by preventing problems to begin with, as well as when the inevitable tough times do arrive.
Host Site Requirements for the Fiscal Policy Training classes include:

  • A minimum of 10 registrants
  • Seating for 60 participants with tables and chairs
  • 1 rectangular table up front for speaker
  • Table and chair in back for registration
  •  ***Room open and available at 7:30 a.m. for set-up (*** 12:30 p.m. for afternoon sessions)
  • Parking alternatives for up to 60 participants, preferably free parking
  • A computer with a remote to advance PowerPoint slides
  •  A port to allow for a USB flash drive
  • A screen and projector
  • Location convenient to lunch options for attendees (preferred).

The host site will NOT need to provide lunch or refreshments for the attendees.  Attendees are on their own for lunch.

For all classes, the host site gets two free attendees.  Unless otherwise provided by the Hosting Agency, one of the attendees will be designated to registering participants, checking room set-up, assisting the presenter, assisting with food, and assisting with set-up as needed.

CSMFO will handle the online registrations and fees for the classes.

CSMFO and the host site will be responsible for marketing and promoting the courses.  The host site is strongly encouraged to market and promote the courses to local agencies and chapters to maximize attendance.

If you are interested and able to host any of the classes in 2013 or for more information, please contact Brenda Charles, Vice-Chair of the Career Development Committee at Brenda.charles@sanjoseca.gov.

Dealing With Reduced Local Government Funding

By Doug Jensen, Senior Vice President, MuniServices

Over the last 10 years, state funding to local governments in California has been reduced by nearly $18 billion.  With the ongoing impact of these revenue losses, cities and counties may need to find new forms of revenue.  There are two very important revenue sources that municipal finance officers should consider: 1) Transactions and Use Tax (TUT), and 2) Utility User Tax (UUT).

Which Tax is Best For Your City?

These two potential revenue sources are evaluated based on the EASE principle of Equity, Administrability, Stability and Economic Benefit. Equity is whether the tax burden falls equally across all businesses and individuals.  Administrability involves minimizing the cost of compliance on taxpayers, minimizing the cost to your agency of enforcing tax policy and maximizing taxpayer compliance. Stability focuses on how the tax in question would affect the volatility of the revenue. Economic Benefit emphasizes the economic efficiency, promotion of the City’s economic development objectives and minimum disruption to taxpayers.

First Step: Voter Approval

Keep in mind that either a TUT or UUT will require voter approval under Prop 218 guidelines, with two-thirds approval required if earmarked for a specific purpose, or a simple majority vote if earmarked for general purposes.
Transactions & Use Tax (a.k.a. District Tax or “voter approved sales tax override”)

Criteria 1: Equity

  • Product sold within a district, but shipped outside the district on seller’s vehicle, is not subject to the district tax within your district.
  • Tax is equitable to businesses in the same industry clusters, as rates and tax application are both uniform.
  • Tax is inequitable to businesses in different industry clusters as some businesses are subject to the district tax while others are not.
  • The tax burden falls disproportionately on low income groups, making it essentially a regressive tax.
  • Tax can be audited to determine the level of equity on who is paying and what is being remitted.

Criteria 2: Administrability

  • Administered by State Board of Equalization (SBE) for a fee of approximately 1% of gross revenue.
  • Allocation of the taxes must be audited to ensure accuracy.
  • Because the tax is destination based, it makes it more difficult to audit.
  • May be imposed as a special tax or a general tax.
  • Imposed on the end-user of the product within the district only.

Criteria 3: Stability

  • Applies to only 35-50% of the economic base on average, making it moderately unstable.
  • Because each city’s economic base is different, revenues will vary depending upon the makeup of each city’s economic base.
  • As the economy shifts toward services and e-commerce, outmoded tax regulations don’t apply cleanly.  This renders UUT more unstable.
  • Ongoing shift to a service-oriented economy further reduces stability of this revenue source over time.

Criteria 4: Economic Benefit

  • TUT could potentially  motivate businesses to locate to other cities in the state, outside the reach of the district tax. However, we have not seen concrete evidence that this has occurred.
  • Businesses already reporting sales/use taxes would require an additional tax form be filed with the SBE.  Considered to have minimal impact.
  • For a quarter-cent sales tax add-on, this tax would add minimal cost to consumer purchases.  Example: On the purchase of an average-cost refrigerator ($600) the tax would add $1.50 to the sales tax paid by the consumer, so the minimal extra tax is less than travel costs to go to another jurisdiction without a TUT.

Utility User Tax (UUT)

Criteria 1: Equity

  • Imposed with a cap, shifts the burden from businesses to residential customers based on volume of utility use.
  • Without low-income exemptions the tax is regressive, but no less so than sales tax.  With exemptions, the tax falls equally on all individuals.
  • High-volume consumers pay more without a cap; however, businesses in the same industry are treated equally.

Criteria 2: Administrability

  • UUT is administered by utilities that collect from their customers and pass the monies through to the taxing entity.
  • There is typically little to no cost to the city to administer, and utilities have not charged an administration fee so far.
  • Implementation requires an accurate jurisdictional boundary description, which can be provided to the utilities by MuniServices.
  • UUT may be imposed as special tax or a general tax.
  •  Tax collections may be audited, provided the ordinance is clear on audit authority.

Criteria 3: Stability

  • Typically electric and gas taxes are stable; however, past and future energy crises have caused dramatic spikes and troughs in revenue streams.  Some ordinances use a “temporary rebate” to deal with spikes.
  • Telecom UUT is less stable as new technologies and products outside the taxable structure are offered.  Ordinances have generally followed IRS rules in applying Federal Excise Tax (FET), but new ordinances are being written to deal with both the repeal of the FET and changing technologies such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or phone calls delivered over the Internet.
  • Roughly 150 California jurisdictions levy UUT.
  • Rates range from 1% to 11%; the most common is 5%.
  •  On average, UUT provides up to 15% of general purpose revenue.

Criteria 4: Economic Benefit

  • Can create a competitive disadvantage to large consumers of utilities, though residential costs are minimal.
  • Utility bills tend to increase over time, which tends to offset inflation.
  • Causes minimal administrative burden on taxpayers as the tax is placed directly on utility bills and no additional tax returns are filed. However, utility companies are impacted to varying degrees by having to periodically update their billing systems.

To be sure, there are benefits and drawbacks to each approach, so policy makers will need to evaluate carefully using the above criteria in order to determine which is right for your city.  With careful planning and implementation, you can find a workable and fair solution to deal with the problem of reduced local government funding.

Doug Jensen is Senior Vice President Client Services for MuniServices, a leading provider of revenue enhancement services to state and local governments.  MuniServices serves more than 800 governments nationwide and has recovered more than $1 billion for its clients. For more information, visit www.muniservices.com, or email doug.jensen@muniservices.com.

2013 Annual CSMFO Conference

Don’t Let Budget Cuts Keep You From Joining Us

Scholarships Available

This year we have over 30 educational sessions planned,  great keynote speakers, and a host of other events that promise to provide you with high quality training and endless networking opportunities all while enjoying the rich culture and cuisine of Oakland, California.
Don’t let budget cuts keep you from joining us.  Scholarship applications are now available for CSMFO members who have not received a scholarship within the past 18 months and who will be the only attendee from their Agency.

CSMFO is a provider for California State Board of Accountancy-approved continuing professional education (CPE) programs for certified public accountants and for GFOA’s certified public finance officers.  Most of the sessions at this conference are offered for CPE credits.
The scholarship application period will run through December 3rd and recipients will be notified of their award by December 17th.

Click here for the application or go to CSMFO.org.


The City of Palo Alto has released Open Budget

Open Budget is a tool that makes it easier for our community to understand and use our City’s financial information. This new application is part of City Manager James Keene’s vision for Palo Alto to become a leading digital city with open government as an essential foundation. The new tool can be accessed here:http://data.cityofpaloalto.org/openbudget.

Palo Alto’s new Open Budget tool provides easy, graphically-based views of five years of City’s financial information. Rich interactivity enables a leap forward from the current static budget document files posted online. Using a filtering menu, users can interact with the data and create charts of exactly the slice of financial information most useful to them. Customizable views can be exported as a graphic file for use in presentations and documents. Additionally, all views can be exported in a spreadsheet format so that further analysis can be performed on the data or it can be used to power new, independently created applications. Open Budget makes City financial data more understandable, accessible and valuable for a wide range of stakeholders.

City Chief Financial Officer, Lalo Perez, who was instrumental in advocating and supporting a new way to use City financial information added, “We are excited with the initial results of making budget data available to our community and City staff in a form that is easier to consume and more actionable. It takes transparency and decision-making to a whole new level.”

Open Budget is an effort by the City to evolve from the nearly 350 page PDF budget document that the City posts to the website.  The new tool offers faster access to data, interactive screens, and greater detail than the PDF.  This improves accountability and transparency to critical objectives that help to build trust in the community.  Future planned steps include updating the tool with new budget data and providing more detailed drill-downs into the organizational financial information.

The project is a collaboration between the City and a local startup, Delphi Solutions.”

Coaching Corner

Editor’s Note: The CSMFO Career Development Committee is pleased to announce a new, periodic MiniNews feature column where CSMFO volunteer coaches will offer professional commentary and career-related insights.  The focus of the first article is on the need for continual professional development at all levels due to constant change in the California municipal finance realm and how CSMFO is uniquely situated to bring all of us up to speed on the latest trends. The first article is provided by Mary Bradley, who has led a long and distinguished career in California municipal finance and is still involved in promoting the profession through her work with the Career Development Committee of CSMFO.

The Name of the Game is Rapid Change

By Mary Bradley, Senior Advisor Career Development Committee

Greetings my fellow finance professionals.  When I began my career in municipal finance (nice try, but I won’t tell you when), suffice it to say that things were a bit simpler than they are now!  Yes, the State had a penchant for taking local revenues but they just took them outright without the increasingly complex schemes that we have experienced more recently.  And now the current decade has ushered in a whole new era of challenges.  Not only is the profession changing, but it is changing at an even faster pace and with more complexity. Sad to say, we cannot rest on our laurels and assume that what we knew yesterday is still valid today.

In the last year alone we have witnessed major pension reform and the dissolution of redevelopment, and we are now in the throes of trying to understand how these changes will impact us. Ongoing state and local fiscal uncertainty in California, including several municipal bankruptcy filings, has prompted Moody’s to review municipal bond issues for potential downgrades.  GASB continues to come out with new accounting requirements, and GFOA has just issued a new GAAFR for all of us to dissect and…I could go on but I know you get the point!

The fast moving changes that we are experiencing require us to keep current to provide the best possible financial service to our various jurisdictions. Although there is no one place where all municipal finance knowledge resides, we have a wonderful resource in CSMFO.  From the Annual Conference to topical bridge calls and webinars to focused coaching and training programs and amazing networking – CSMFO has something for all of us to ensure we remain on the cutting edge of trends in our chosen profession.

I encourage you to avail yourselves of the wonderful resources CSMFO has to offer. Whether you’re an up-and-comer or a seasoned finance director, the professional development resources available to you are substantial!

And by all means, if you have professional development ideas that you would like to share with the Career Development Committee, we would love to hear from you.  Email your suggestions to Mary Bradley.

Welcome New CSMFO Members!

  • Westley Owen, Accounting Supervisor, Vallecitos Water District
  • Marie Owens, Instructor, University of Colorado – Denver
  • Andrew Murray, Assistant to the City Administrator, Oakland
  • Diane Hadland, President, DHA Consulting
  • Anne Bell, Management Analyst, Tracy
  • Jamie Hook, Finance and Adminstrative Manager, Newport Beach
  • Brad Farmer, Accounting Supervisor, Alameda
  • Susan Schiefelbein, Managing Director, CastleOak Securities, L.P.
  • David O’Neal, Finance Manager, City of Napa
  • Colleen Zenger, Financial Manager, California State University – Chancellor’s Office

Education Opportunities

Archived Webinar: Economic Development Is Every Finance Professional’s Business

If you missed the September 19 webinar titled Economic Development beyond Redevelopment, view the archived webinar to reach the following valuable resources:

– Quality digital audio recording (available to play on your computer or MP3 device)
– PDF of the presentation along with links to resources

Panelists included:
– Jim Simon, Principal RSG
– Dave McEwen, shareholder, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, Attorneys at Law
– Bryan Cook, Asst. City Manager and Finance Director, South Gate

You’ll learn:
– Approaches for agencies to promote economic development
– Tools available to support economic development
– Examples of economic development in action
– Key roles for finance professionals to play
– Resources to explore these issues further

At www.csmfo.org/coaching, you’ll also find many other resources to support your career, including the Financial Management Skills Inventory, the Coaches Gallery with 27 volunteer coaches to support you on a one-on-one basis, and productivity tools.

Enjoy the resources to support your career in local government finance.

Winter 2013 UC Davis Extension Accounting and Financial Planning Courses


FREE! Professional Education Showcase

  • March 5: Tues., 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St.
  • No charge. Enroll in section 123OPE600.

Principles of Financial Accounting

  • Enroll now through January 14 and complete by March 22. Passwords issued starting January 7.
  • You must begin and end the course on the dates noted above.
  • $775 ($825 if postmarked after 12/24/2012). Enroll in section 123CAN101.

Principles of Cost Accounting

  • January 7 through April 8: Mon., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (no meeting January 21 and February 18).
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/27/2012). Enroll in section 123ACC102.
  • Special discounts: Groups.


  • January 8 through March 26: Tues., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 01/01/2013). Enroll in section 123ACC105.
  • Special discounts: Groups.

Intermediate Accounting – Part One

  • January 9 through March 27: Wed., 5:40 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 01/02/2013). Enroll in section 123ACC104.
  • Special discounts: Groups.

Retirement and Employee Benefits Planning

  • January 8 through March 12: Tues., 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/25/2012). Enroll in section 123PER478.
  • Special discounts: Groups. FPA members.

Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning

  • January 9through March 13: Wed., 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sacramento: Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K Street
  • Technical requirements: Certain elements of this class will be conducted online.
  • $745 ($820 if postmarked after 12/26/2012). Enroll in section 123PER473.
  • Special discounts: Groups. FPA members.

To enroll or for more information and a full list of what we offer, visit UC Davis Extension at www.extension.ucdavis.edu/bm or call (800) 752-0881.

Chapter Updates

Monterey Bay & CMTA Division 4 Joint Meeting – October 25
Finance’s critical role in public confidence and support; To Bell and Back; CalPERS reform and the residential lending market, Presenter Name

  • Bill Slater, Consultant and Trainer, Former Director of Finance & Information Technology, City of San Luis Obispo
  • John Bartel, President, Bartel Associates
  • Zachery Adam, Loan Officer, Chase Bank

Central LA & South Bay & CMTA Division 2 Joint Meeting – October 25
FARMER MAC: The “Hidden Gem” Alternative to the Housing GSE Debt

  • Rich Eisenberg, Farmer Mac Assistant Treasurer
  • Rob Owens, Farmer Mac Capital Markets Manager

South Bay & Central LA & CMTA Division 2 Holiday Lunch – December 6
What Lies Ahead for Sales & Use Tax

  • Doug Jensen, Senior Vice-President, Client Services of MuniServices