Sunday, July 8, 2012

Was GFOA conference worth the cost to Roanoke taxpayers?

When the list of attendees to the Government Finance Officer Association’s 2012-2013 annual business conference came out I became a bit curious as to the expense. Seven attended and the City Manager brought his family.

For sure it was a prestigious moment for Roanoke’s city manager to be named president. A good addition to his resume. Though I wondered how much it cost for so many to attend. The total for all seven came to $12,691.

Shawver pointed out that former city manager Darlene Burcham was not a member of GFOA but was “very active in other professional organizations such as the International City Managers Association, Alliance for Innovations, and National League of Cities.”

Taxpayers can take solace in the fact that Morrill and others per city policy paid for their family’s attendance and Susan Lower did not attend on City business and paid her own way according to finance director Ann Shawver.  For sure Shawver and Amelia Merchant could be expected to attend.

With the city just completing its FY2013 budget pinching exercise it may irk some of you on the expenses that were incurred. Maybe you think that the list of attendees from the city should have been at least cut to a minimum. You be the judge?


JUNE 18, 2012: Roanoke’s city manager Chris Morrill became the Government Finance Officer Association’s 2012-2013 president at the association’s June 12 annual business meeting in Chicago, Illinois. In his GFOA speech Morrill expressed his thanks to the mayor and city council for recognizing the value that his association with the GFOA can bring back to Roanoke.

He remarked how popular with the media he and other city managers had become in light of the current budgetary squeeze on local municipalities.

Morrill was congratulated by the business community at the City Market Building. Mayor Bowers read a resolution recognizing the honor. Bowers said Morrill brings credit to Roanoke. “We support you – we’re watching your back to make sure you are a successful as President of the GFOA and as city manager of Roanoke,” said Bowers.

City Manager Chris Morrill

The purpose of the Government Finance Officers Association is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and best practices and promoting their use through education, training, facilitation of member networking, and leadership.

The core objectives of the association is to enhance its members knowledge in public financial management by exercising leadership in research, recommended practice and policy development and information dissemination. Train and enhance the expertise and professionalism of financial managers and policy makers. Build leadership skills and become technical experts. Promote public awareness of policies and practices. Enhance cooperation with and complement the services provided U.S., Canadian and international organizations and further the use of technical analytical tools to support efficient resource allocation, quality services and effective decision-making.

Morrill with his family and seven other city staff members attended the conference: City Treasurer Evelyn Powers, Finance Director Ann Shawver, Director of Management and Budget Amelia Merchant, Andrea Trent Assistant Finance Director, Mike Shockley Budget Administrator, Susan Lower Real Estate Assessment Director and Kathy Cox Assistant Director of Technology.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Finance

Tags: , ,


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