Monday, July 12, 2021

11:00 am - 11:50 am EDT
Annual Business Meeting

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Overview

During this meeting, GFOA’s active government members will select new members of the Executive Board and vote on any policy statements that have been prepared by GFOA standing committees and recommended for approval by GFOA’s Executive Board. This meeting is complimentary to all GFOA members.

12:00 pm - 1:40 pm EDT
Relief and Recovery/Infrastructure Panel

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Overview

Join GFOA’s COVID-19 Rescue, Relief and Recovery Panel featuring a national perspective on the fiscal challenges resulting from the ongoing public health crisis, and a discussion to shed light on the policy tools already in place and those being debated at the federal level to ensure a successful recovery.

3:00 pm - 4:40 pm EDT
Accounting and Auditing Year in Review 2021

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Overview

During this annual session, speakers will provide a comprehensive overview of the key developments in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting that affect state and local governments. Topics include recently promulgated standards and upcoming implementations with related practice issues, as well as developments related to current GASB projects likely to affect preparers and auditors in the near future.

Speaker(s)

Joel Black, Chair

R. Kinney Poynter, CPA, Executive Director

Michele Mark Levine, Director, Technical Services

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

11:00 am - 12:40 pm EDT
Looking at Leases: Implementing GASB Statement No. 87

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Overview

New accounting and financial reporting for leases is requiring a tremendous implementation effort, wherein governments must find and interpret a large number and wide array of agreements. Hear from those who have been on the forefront of endeavor on methods used and lessons learned.

Speaker(s)

Trevor Agrelius, Controller, Moulton Nignel Water District, CA

Roger Alfaro, Partner, Eide Bailly LLP

Kirk Johnson, Finance Director, City of Ridgefield, WA

11:00 am - 12:15 pm EDT
Promoting Trust and Respect with Design Thinking

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Overview

GFOA’s Financial Foundations Framework encourages organizations to “treat everyone fairly” in order to promote mutual trust and respect. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Design thinking is a method for putting people first in how process and products are put together. Organizations have used this collaborative approach to address many different types of problems. We also know that building trust starts with people. In this session, learn how you can apply the principles of design thinking to develop policy solutions, improve processes, create a culture of collaboration, and promote mutual trust and respect in your organization.

Speaker(s)

Nicole Grabel, Principal, Behavioral Science, BehavioralSight

Sam Evans, Senior Director, Egg Strategy

Shannon White, Mixed Methods Researcher, Facebook

11:00 am - 11:50 am EDT
Zoom Towns: The Impact of Remote Work on Our Communities

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Overview

With the onset of COVID-19 some employees, now working remotely, opted to move out of large urban metros areas into smaller towns. This migration led to a financial impact in both areas. How did these small towns address a large and unplanned demand for service? What was the impact on tax revenues, property values, and the economy? Speakers will also explore what this means for those areas if the trend continues. Going forward, all finance officers can learn form these experiences and help you be better prepared for the next large change in your community.
Speaker(s)

Doug Russell, City Manager, City of Kalispell, MT

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Exhibit Hall Open

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EDT
Go Get Help: How to Leverage Outside Professionals in Managing Your Debt Program

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Overview

Issuing and managing debt is one of many complex responsibilities for finance officers. The complexities inherent in the process and limited staff resources often makes it a necessity to rely on external resources like municipal advisors, underwriters, and legal counsel to access the municipal debt market and meet the disclosure responsibilities of the Continuing Disclosure Agreement (CDA). In this session, speakers will discuss what issuers should expect from those engagements and how you can be better prepared to take advantage of your relationships with these external advisors to improve your debt management programs.
Speaker(s)

Kathy Kardell, Senior Debt Administrator, Office of Budget & Finance, Hennepin County, MN

Meredith L. Hathorn, Managing Partner, Foley & Judell, L.L.P.

Marianne F. Edmonds, Senior Managing Director, Public Resources Advisory Group

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm EDT
Finance Officers are from Mars, Engineers are from Venus

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Overview

Effective collaboration between finance officers and engineers is essential to implement your capital program and build and maintain the infrastructure that is necessary to a thriving community. Collaboration encourages thoughtful planning, well-designed projects, and cost effective solutions. Yet, finance officers and engineers often have different ways of approaching challenges and this can impede collaboration. This session examines how finance officers, engineers and other local government leaders, can improve results, build better relationships, and help build more sustainable organizations.
Speaker(s)

Jeff Blue, County Engineer, Champaign County, IL

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

11:00 am - 12:15 pm EDT
Overview of Public Procurement 2021

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Overview

The recent global pandemic has propelled public procurement forward by showing it as a vital part of any public sector financial management function. As we transition toward a faster-paced and more technologically connected world, the future of procurement will rely on our ability to combine technology with agile methodologies to best serve the organization and larger community. For it to be most effective, procurement processes, policies, and staff must work collaboratively with peers across the organization towards implementing best practices, re-engineering processes, and modernizing systems while staying true to the fundamentals of transparency, fiscal responsibility, accountability and maintaining public trust. This panel will explore the future of public procurement in an era of change and modernization. Session topics include: ethics, procurement policies, agility in procurement, privatization, developing a supplier network, organization of the procurement function, and elevating the procurement profession.

Speaker(s)

Mike Mucha, Deputy Executive Director / Director, Research and Consulting, GFOA

James Bond, Deputy Director, City of Columbus, Department of Finance and Management

Kate Rotella, Purchasing Manager, CREC and Governing Board Treasurer NIGP

Art Moore, NIGP-CPP, CPPO, CPPB, Chief Procurement Officer - Capital Development Board, Illinois Executive Ethics Commission

11:00 am - 11:50 am EDT
Cutting Your Last Check: Creative Alternatives to Traditional Payment Methods

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Overview

Governments are continuing to shift away from traditional payable methods, especially checks. As organizations continue to search for ways to minimize internal paperwork and utilize modern payment methods, governments should be aware of options to facilitate streamlining payables functions in the treasury office. This session will explore digital alternatives to traditional payables options available for the public sector, the policies and procedures necessary to implement them, and what other creative payment alternatives are non the horizon for state and local governments.
Speaker(s)

Tammy Queen, Director of Finance, City of Kansas City, MO

Colleen Young, Assistant Finance Director, City of North Little Rock, AR

11:00 am - 12:40 pm EDT
Rethinking Police Budgeting: Practical Approaches for a Better Community

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Overview

As with nearly all public services, police have been asked to do more with less and forced to assume roles and responsibilities outside of their core area of expertise. While these issues are not new, awareness and visibility of police misconduct is at an all-time high and has fueled public demand for change. How can finance officers work with their peers in public safety to implement reforms? All governments need to look at how police departments are funded and understand the role that line item budgeting, repeated budget cuts, and misalignment of funding and results has contributed to the current situation and the calls for change. In this session, speakers will address how to make improvements to how governments budget for police, build strong relationships in your organization, better engage the community, and work towards improving public trust.
Speaker(s)

LaDon Reynolds, Chief of Police, Village of Oak Park, IL

Larry J. Yium, Retired Deputy Director/Consultant, Houston Police Department

Lisa Perez, Chief Administrative Officer, City of San Jose, CA Police Department

12:50 pm - 1:05 pm EDT
Meet the Speaker: Rethinking Police Budgeting: Practical Approaches for a Better Community

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Overview

As with nearly all public services, police have been asked to do more with less and forced to assume roles and responsibilities outside of their core area of expertise. While these issues are not new, awareness and visibility of police misconduct is at an all-time high and has fueled public demand for change. How can finance officers work with their peers in public safety to implement reforms? All governments need to look at how police departments are funded and understand the role that line item budgeting, repeated budget cuts, and misalignment of funding and results has contributed to the current situation and the calls for change. In this session, speakers will address how to make improvements to how governments budget for police, build strong relationships in your organization, better engage the community, and work towards improving public trust.
Speaker(s)

LaDon Reynolds, Chief of Police, Village of Oak Park, IL

Larry J. Yium, Retired Deputy Director/Consultant, Houston Police Department

Lisa Perez, Chief Administrative Officer, City of San Jose, CA Police Department

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Exhibit Hall Open

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EDT
Will it Ever Be Enough? Considerations for Voluntary Issuer Disclosure

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Overview

Issuers active in the municipal bond market are no strangers to the pressure for providing up to date financial information, especially in light of COVID-19. This session will highlight opportunities for voluntary disclosure to the market and how issuers should evaluate the amount and type of information being disclosed. Panelists will also discuss how to leverage your financing team in making those decisions.
Speaker(s)

Jacquelynne M. Jennings, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP

Timothy Ewell, Chief Assistant County Administrator, Contra Costa County, California

David Erdman, Capital Finance Director, State of Wisconsin

Anne Ross, Principal Consultant, Muni Credit & Compliance Advisors LLC

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm EDT
Appointing the Ump: GFOA Best Practices For Selecting an Independent Auditor

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Overview

GFOA recommends that governments receive an independent audit for financial statements and single audits. But how should you select and contract for this essential role. Many governments do choose their own independent auditors and in this session, speakers will explore GFOA's best practices for seeking, choosing, contracting and working with auditors to give taxpayers and other resource providers third-party assurance. In addition, speakers will provide recommendations on how you can best manage this relationship and control the required effort and costs of doing so.
Speaker(s)

Omar Gutierrez, VP of Administrative Services, Fresno City College

Sue Iverson, Finance and Accounting Manager, City of Red Wing, MN

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm EDT
Small Government Forum (SGF) Resource Round Table

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Overview

Small governments provide unique experiences for finance officers, often requiring them to wear multiple hats and balance scarce resources with limited financial capacity. The proximity between finance officers and the residents they serve is also typically less within small communities than larger communities, making things like public trust, transparency and open communication critical. For this event, the Small Government Forum will be providing an update on their activities in 2020, and a preview on what’s to come in 2021. This will be followed directly by three concurrent roundtable discussions on Debt Issuance, Managing Economic Development Projects, and Staff Development within small governments. These resource roundtables will to allow public finance officers working in small governments to ask questions, hear from their colleagues, and share their experiences and resources they’ve used in the past.
Speaker(s)

Jennifer Signs, Finance Director, Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District located in Bellingham, Washington

Matthew D. Trine, Assistant City Manager and Finance Risk Management Director, City of Rockledge

Norman Eckstein, Chief Financial Officer & Tax Collector, Township of Boonton, NJ

Jimmy Forbis, CPFO, City Administrator, City of Gilroy, CA

Cynthia Berry, Ph.D., Chief Organizational Development Consultant, Berry Organizational and Leadership Development LLC

Noel Graczyk, Administrative Services Director, City of Chaska, MN

Thursday, July 15, 2021

11:00 am - 11:50 am EDT
Reap What You Sow: Financial Reporting for Defined Contribution Pension, OPEB, and Other Employee Benefit Plans

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Overview

With the implementation of GASB Statements Nos. 84 and 97, governments will need to quickly make assessments about whether defined contribution pension and postemployment benefits other than pensions (OPEB) plans, including some IRS Section 457 plans, need to be included in their financial statements. This session will examine the process of determining whether 457 plans are defined benefit or defined contribution pension plans or other employee benefit plans, and how those determinations affecting their inclusion in or exclusion from a sponsoring government's fiduciary fund financial statements.
Speaker(s)

Debra Roberts, Chief Financial Officer, Maryland Supplemental Retirement Plans

Kim Francisco, Finance Director, City of Gaithersburg, MD

Lisa R. Parker, CPA, CGMA, Senior Project Manager, Governmental Accounting Standards Board

11:00 am - 12:15 pm EDT
Year in Washington: 2021 GFOA Federal Update

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Overview

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt by communities throughout the country. The CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 both provided $500 billion in funding to state and local governments for rescue and recovery. In this session, we will discuss lessons learned from the already-appropriated funds and discuss the potential for an infrastructure plan on the horizon for state and local governments. Additionally, staff from GFOA's Federal Liaison Center will review where we have been in the 116th congress and where the 117th will likely take us.

11:00 am - 12:40 pm EDT
SOS: Focusing on Core Elements of Process Improvement

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Overview

It's difficult not to come down with "Shiny Object Syndrome" (SOS), during an ERP implementation. Software vendors invest billions in their reporting tools, workflow, self-service capabilities, mobile features, advanced analytics, machine learning, and user interfaces and provide an easy fix to solve all of a government's problems. However, implementing process improvements is much less about the technology and more about governance, communications, readiness, and a project culture that values diverse perspectives, working together, and a focused vision for the organization. Attend this session to hear from practitioners and GFOA staff from the Research and Consulting Center to learn effective strategies for process improvement to go along with your next technology implementation.
Speaker(s)

Danelle MacEwen, Performance Management Specialist, City of Olympia, WA

Janet Laszlo, HRP Project Manager - Office of the Controller, City of Los Angeles, CA

Crista Binder, Chief Deputy Controller, City of Los Angeles, CA

Eva Olsaker, Senior Manager, GFOA

12:25 pm - 12:55pm EDT
Meet the Federal Liaison Center

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Overview

Continue the conversation with the Federal Liaison Center on the 2021 federal update.
Speaker(s)

Michael Belarmino, Senior Policy Advisor, GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center

Emily Brock, Director, Federal Liaison Center, GFOA

Mehreen Haroon, Federal Policy Associate, GFOA

Michael Thomas, Federal Policy Associate, GFOA

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Exhibit Hall Open

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm EDT
Overview of Defined Contribution and Deferred Compensation Plans

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Overview

As local governments are considering and even adding elements of defined contribution and deferred compensation plans to their retirement offerings, it is important that the finance officer understand the fiduciary considerations of doing so. This session will highlight what finance officers should be aware of in terms of fiduciary responsibility as well as provide an update on trends in these retirement vehicles.
Speaker(s)

AJ Padilla, Chairperson, City of Austin Deferred Compensation Committee

Matt Petersen, Executive Director, NAGDCA

Jean Lu, Accounting Manager, City of Tulsa, OK

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EDT
Value Based Budgeting: Establishing Values Before Difficult Times

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Overview

Balancing a budget most often means cutting services. Almost all governments have faced pressure to raise additional revenue or cut services when the community is most at need. Focusing on values during the budget process can align service provision to community needs. In this session, find out how other governments have been able to better align funding with community values, improve outcomes for the most in need, remain fiscally sustainable, and improve public trust.
Speaker(s)

Sheila White, Interim Finance Director, City of Richmond, VA

Chris Fabian, CEO, Co-founder, ResourceX (Resource Exploration)

Jennifer Larson, Director of Finance and Budget, City of Dubuque, IA

Jay Brown, Deputy County Administrator for Administrative Services, Hanover County, VA

Jason Demerath, Director of Business Services, School District of Fort Atkinson, WI

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm EDT
GFOA Black Caucus Annual Business Meeting

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Overview

Join us for GFOA’s Black Caucus 2021 Annual Business Meeting. Established in 1991, the mission of the Caucus is to support the aspirations and achievements of African-American public finance officers; to pursue professional development opportunities for Caucus members; and to sponsor projects to assist African Americans seeking careers in government finance. In addition to an update and recap of the Caucus’s activities, attendees will also hear from a guest speaker who will provide career insight.
Speaker(s)

Roman J. Guillory, Senior Accountant, Federal & State Programs, Texas Health Resources

Susan Gooding-Liburd, Chief Financial Officer, City of Miramar, FL

Margaret Dalley-Johns, Finance Manager, Mobility Advancement Program, Broward County, FL

Courtney Knight, Founder and Managing Partner, Capstone Municipal Advisors LLC

Mohamed Balla, Chief Financial Officer, City of Atlanta, GA

Friday, July 16, 2021

11:00 am - 12:15 pm EDT
Achievers (not) Anonymous: Common Reporting Deficiencies for GFOA's Certificate of Achievement Program

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Overview

This session will address common deficiencies noted in reviews of comprehensive annual financial reports submitted to GFOA's Certificate of Achievement (COA) program. Speakers will also emphasize asterisk items on GFOA's checklist that most frequently result in award denials.
Speaker(s)

Susan Brown, Finance & Accounting Services Manager, City of Gresham, OR

Dennis Kauffman, Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer, City of Roseville, City of Roseville, CA

Jackie Neubert, Deputy Director, Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts

11:00 am - 12:15 pm EDT
No Such Thing as a Quick Fix: Cautionary Ideas to Address Pension Liabilities

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Overview

With the economic downturn, governments are facing increased budgetary pressure. Additionally, pension plans may see lower than anticipated investment returns compelling governments to utilize short-term solutions to alleviate pension pressures. During this session, speakers will provide an update on the state of public pensions and explain several ideas proposed to reduce pension liabilities. For each option, speakers will discuss the business case in favor along with potential limitations, risks, and long-term challenges.
Speaker(s)

Natalie Cohen, President and Founder, National Municipal Research

Todd Tauzer, Vice President and Actuary, Segal

Melanie D. Purcell, CPFO, SHRM-SCP, Finance Director, City of Ashland, OR

11:00 am - 11:50am EDT
Thinking Probabilistically: The Essential Risk Management Tool

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Overview

Without probabilities, the only way to deal with risk is the gut. Unfortunately, research has shown that using your gut feel to manage risk leads to inconsistent, overconfident, and just plain wrong decisions. The insurance industry, for examples, is based on probabilistic thinking and some of the same concepts that make insurance companies successful can be used to help local governments make better decisions. In this session you will learn about essential concepts in applying probabilities that will help you see uncertainty in the world differently and help you make better decisions for your organization.
Speaker(s)

Sam Savage, Executive Director, ProbabilityManagement.org

Shayne C. Kavanagh, Senior Manager, Research, GFOA

Charissa Japlit, Assistant Group Finance Director, County of San Diego, Finance and General Government Group

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm EDT
Meet the Speaker: Thinking Probabilistically – The Essential Risk Management Tool

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Overview

Join Sam Savage and Shayne Kavanagh for a 30-minute “Meet the Speaker” event to continue the conversation about essential concepts in applying probabilities that will help you see uncertainty in the world differently and help you make better decisions for your organization.
Speaker(s)

Sam Savage, Executive Director, ProbabilityManagement.org

Shayne C. Kavanagh, Senior Manager, Research, GFOA

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Exhibit Hall Open

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EDT
Trustworthy: Implementing GASB Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities

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Overview

New accounting and financial reporting for Fiduciary Activities has required governments to revisit virtually every preexisting fiduciary fund to determine if it meets the new, higher threshold for fiduciary activities established by GASB Statement No. 84 and related implementation guidance. In this session you will hear from those who have completed these determinations and those who audit them on lessons learned.
Speaker(s)

Shakeel Yusuf, Comptroller, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

John Hulsey, Public Service Associate Faculty, University of Georgia - Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Michelle Watterworth, Partner, National Public Sector Technical Leader, Plante Moran

Steve Adair, Deputy Finance Director, Macomb County Government, MI

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm EDT
The Evolving World of Utility Finance

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Overview

Utilities have faced increased pressure as moratoriums put in place last year have constrained budgets. As essential services, utilities have had to continue and continue to do so while adhering to public health measures that added to operating costs. Join the Utility Finance Forum for this session featuring an expert panel to review the continuing operating challenges that public utilities face and an outlook for the year ahead.
Speaker(s)

Jason Loveland, Director of Finance, City of Northglenn, CO

Kristal Hughes, Finance Director, City of Madras, OR