California Society of Municipal Finance Officers

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California Society of Municipal Finance Officers
Abbreviation CSMFO
Formation 1958
Legal status Association
Purpose Government Finance in California
  • California California
Municipal Finance Directors and Treasurers
Pauline Marx, City and County of San Francisco
Pamela Arends-King, City of Tustin
Past President:
Laura Nomura, City of Riverside
Board of Directors:
John Adams, City of Thousand Oaks
Joan Michaels Aguilar, City of Dixon
Teri Albrecht, City of Merced
Drew Corbett, City of Sunnyvale
Margaret Moggia, West Basin Municipal Water District
Terri Willoughby, City of Menifee

United States Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)

Texas Government Finance Officers Association of Texas (GFOAT)

The California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (or CSMFO) is a professional association of state, county, and local government finance officers in California. The California Society of Municipal Finance Officers is the statewide organization serving all California municipal finance professionals, an affiliate of the nationwide Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Membership is open to anyone in the State of California actively engaged in government finance in any city, county, or special district. Its stated mission is to promote excellence in financial management through innovation, continuing education and professional development. CSMFO members are actively involved in the key issues facing cities, counties, and special districts in the State of California.

Recognizing that public servants have an obligation to serve the public’s interests, CSMFO serves to actively improve fiscal integrity, adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct, and to create better accountability by disseminating best practices.

The Challenge to Excellence in Government Finance[edit]

The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990(CFO Act) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. For each of 23 federal agencies, the position of chief financial officer was created. Since that time, federal efforts have been intended to improve the government's financial management and develop standards of financial performance and disclosure. Similar financial expectations exist at State and Local government levels.

The chief financial officer (CFO) of a public agency is the corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the business or agency. This officer is also responsible for budgeting, financial planning, record-keeping, cash flow management, higher management. communicating financial performance and forecasts to the community. The title may vary, such as finance director or treasurer, from agency to agency. The CFO typically reports to the city manager or other chief executive officer.

Financial reporting has multiple audiences, with a responsibility to citizens, taxpayers and voters to provide transparent accountability for use of public funds (taxes). Additionally, financial reporting must provide internal guidance to program managers to maintain budgetary control and to governing city councils and boards of directors to provide adequate financial policy guidelines.

The United States government in general has sought to improve the quality of financial reporting. The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has a stated mission to "establish and improve standards of state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting that will result in useful information for users of financial reports and guide and educate the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of those financial reports." [1] Pronouncements in particular have trended to incorporate more comparable elements of business-sector.

The need for and value of financial managers has increased. Over the past decades, a number of factors have created a rapidly changing environment for today's government financial managers. Beginning with the New York City financial crisis in the 1970s and 1980s, state and local governments began overhauling their financial management systems. In 1990, the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) act called for reforms that brought the goal of accountability to the forefront. The 1994 Bankruptcy of Orange County, California further underscored the need for ongoing excellence and expertise in the field of municipal finance.

Role of CSMFO Membership[edit]

Members are finance directors and treasurers of municipalities and other local government agencies, whether elected or appointed, having responsibility for collection, receipt, reporting, custody, investment or disbursement of municipal funds. Municipal funding sources are commonly property tax, sales tax, income tax, utility users tax (UUT), transient occupancy tax (hotel occupancy), and user fees such as licensing and permit fees.

Michael Genest is the Finance Director and Bill Lockyer is the Treasurer of the State of California. There are 480 California cities,[2] 58 California counties [3] about 3,400 Special Districts [4] and School Districts, each with independent fiscal stewardship. Many City Treasurers are elected, and are therefore directly accountable to their constituents; the remainder are appointed either by City Council or City Manager. Finance Directors typically are appointed by the City Manager.

Professional Standards Setting[edit]

Certification is a guide for municipal finance directors and treasurers to become valued administrators in local government. CSMFO encourages professional certification for public finance directors and treasurers who meet standards of education, experience and commitment to a code of ethics. CSMFO does not offer its own post-nominal professional certificate since GFOA already administers the Certified Professional Finance Officer (CPFO), CMTA offers the Certified California Municipal Treasurer (CCMT) certification program,[5] and the Association of Government Accountants offers the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification, requiring six hours of testing on Federal, State and Local Government Financial material.

CSMFO Code of Ethics[edit]

Members are enjoined to adhere to legal, moral and professional standards of conduct. The following ethical principles govern the conduct of the Municipal members of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers who shall:[6]

1. Demonstrate and be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships to merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, other public officials, employees and the public.

2. Recognize and be accountable for their responsibilities as public officials; be sensitive and responsive to the rights of the public.

3. Exercise prudence and integrity in the management of funds in their custody and in all financial transactions.

4. Maintain their own competence, enhance the competence of their colleagues and staff members, and provide encouragement to those seeking to enter the field of government finance.

5. Seek excellence in the public service; be well informed and well prepared to exercise public authority.

6. Demonstrate professional integrity in the issuance and management of information; prepare and present statements and financial information fairly, in accordance with law and generally accepted practices and guidelines.

7. Respect and protect privileged information; be sensitive and responsive to inquiries from the public and the media within the framework of local government policy.

8. Act with honor, integrity and virtue in all professional relationships; respect the rights of their colleagues and other public officials with whom they work and associate.

9. Handle all matters of personnel within the scope of their authority on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern their decisions.

10. Seek no favor or accept any personal gain which would influence, or appear to influence, the conduct of their official duties.

11. Protect the public trust, avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and safeguard the integrity of the government they serve.

Training and Education in California Finance and Treasury[edit]

CSMFO has technical and professional committees that deal with financial issues facing government and the public. CSMFO also provides web-based technical support resources, educational material, conferences and technical publications for its members. CSMFO's annual statewide conferences provide an array of education across many topics and alternate annually between various northern and southern cities. By assembling leadership from a broad representation of government agencies and also bringing in subject matter experts in various disciplines, the collective expertise and professionalism of financial managers and policymakers is enhanced and improved.

Statewide Financial Leadership[edit]

CSMFO is recognized as a leading source of expert knowledge in public financial management by exercising leadership in research, recommended practice and policy development, and information dissemination. Nationwide recognition is furthered through a continued association with the nationwide Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Statewide recognition is furthered through a thorough participation of members drawn from many cities, counties and special districts.

Standing Committees Financial Leadership is furthered by engaging in efforts to assist statewide finance officers to develop the skills and capabilities necessary to enable them to become organizational leaders as well as technical experts.

Committee Chair
Administration Robert Burns, City of Chino
Annual Seminar Janet Salvetti, City of Stockton
Budget and Management Reporting Pamela Arends-King, City of Santa Ana
Career Development Dennis Danner, City of Newport Beach
Fiscal Policy Josh Betta, City of Glendora
Membership Steve Chapman, City of Moreno Valley
Professional and Technical Standards Jesse Takahashi, City of Campbell
Technology John Adams, City of Thousand Oaks


The CSMFO website is a well-known statewide resource for a variety of documents relevant to local government, the most obvious benefit of which is to avoid inefficient duplication of effort and to make more knowledge available statewide to everyone. CSMFO's library of resources includes sample RFPs, job descriptions, and a variety of documents and information relevant to local government. Categories of posted information include Accounting/Financial Reporting, Budgeting, Consultants, Investments/Cash Management, Job Descriptions, Payroll, Human Resources, Policies & Procedures, Revenue Management, RFPs/RFQs, and Technology.

CSMFO facilitates interagency communication for the purposes of sharing information and best practices. Cooperate with and complement the services provided by other organizations to increase the effectiveness of all.

Like GFOA nationwide, CSMFO sponsors award programs designed to encourage good financial reporting in California, for financial documents including the Comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, and the annual budget.

CSMFO provides technology information and analytical tools to help governments identify and apply appropriate, economical technologies to support efficient resource allocation, quality services, and effective decision making and to promote citizen involvement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Government Accounting Standards Board
  2. ^ State of California, Cities
  3. ^ State of California, Counties
  4. ^ A Citizen's Guide to Special Districts in California Retrieved 2009-04-04
  5. ^ Institute for Local Government, Ethics Codes
  6. ^ CSMFO Code of Ethics Retrieved 2009-04-08

External links[edit]