Finance Director, Town of Fuquay-Varina (closes 2/12/19)

Click Here For the Full Description and/or to Apply for this Position

Closing:  February 12, 2019
Salary Range:  $88,650 – $109,758 annually

Description

The Town of Fuquay-Varina is seeking a Finance Director. Fuquay-Varina, located in southern Wake County within 30 minutes of both downtown Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, is one of the fastest growing towns in North Carolina. The population reached 30,000 in July 2018 and is expected to approach 35,000 by 2020. Fuquay-Varina offers a rich quality of life, an extensive park system, two vibrant downtowns poised for significant new investment, and a commitment to maintaining and enhancing its historic charm and sense of place. The Finance Director plans, directs, organizes and administers a variety of fiscal and administrative functions including disbursement and accounting of revenues and expenditures, monitoring and administering the budget, accounting, purchasing, revenue collections, information systems, billing and payroll operations, customer services, and grant administration. The employee must exercise considerable independent judgment and initiative in planning and directing the fiscal control and procurement system. Work is performed in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes and State regulations governing the responsibilities of local government financial operations, local government purchasing, contracts and bidding, and Town policies and manuals. Work is performed under the supervision of the Town Manager.

Essential Duties

  • Plans, organizes, and directs the Finance Department including financial programs and operations, accounting, utility and miscellaneous accounts receivable billing, revenue collections, purchasing, fixed assets accounting, budget, investments, accounts payable, payroll, grant administration, and assessment levying; develops and implements departmental goals.
  • Assists the Town Manager in preparation of the general operating and capital improvements budgets; projects revenues and performs historical research on spending and trends in previous years; forecast capital and financing schedules and cost estimates.
  • Works with the Manager in directing the formulation of Town financial policies; assist other departments with the development and implementation of financial systems.
  • Directs the general accounting system for the Town; maintains financial records for each department; maintains separate accounts for items of appropriation in the budget; monitors expenditures and obligations on accounts.
  • Reviews and monitors ongoing administration of budget: monitors revenues and expenditures; coordinates activities and changes with Town departments.
  • Manages the Finance Department staff and resources; prepares annual departmental budget; hires, trains, provides performance coaching and evaluation, staff communications, leadership, motivation, and work assignment; identifies and manages technology needs.
  • Oversees the preparation of monthly and annual financial statements, and the preparation of other reports on the fiscal condition of the Town; monitors the preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual reports for payroll.
  • Assists external auditors with annual audit and coordinates the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • Coordinates efforts of underwriting, forecasting, and the preparation of the official statement for bond issues and other financing agreements; administers the debt service program for the Town.
  • Monitors grant agreements for financial and award compliance; directs the timing of drawdowns for expenditures; tracks capital project revenue and expenditures.
  • Approves purchase orders.
  • Manages receipt and investment of all Town revenues; manages the meter reading, utility billing, collections and customer accounts function for the Town.
  • Coordinates the levying of paving, water, sewer, and storm water assessments.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Thorough knowledge of North Carolina General Statutes and of local ordinances governing municipal financial practices and procedures, purchasing of materials, supplies and equipment.
  • Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of public finance administration, including principles and practices of municipal accounting.
  • Thorough knowledge of fiscal support activities such as purchasing, technology, payroll, and budget analysis and preparation.
  • Skill in collaborative conflict resolution and customer service excellence.
  • Ability to evaluate complex financial systems and formulate and install accounting methods, procedures, forms, and records.
  • Ability to design and prepare analytical or interpretative financial statements.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with the public, vendors, departmental heads, governmental officials, and with other Town employees.
  • Ability to develop bid specifications and evaluate bids.

Education and Experience

  • Graduation from a four-year college or university with a degree in accounting, finance, or business (required) and considerable experience in public finance administration including considerable supervisory experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and experience (required).
  • Preference given to candidates with a CPA, Certified Local Government Finance Officer certification, or Master’s in Business or Public Administration.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in government finance.

Fiscal Analyst I, North Carolina General Assembly (closes 2/6/19)

Click Here For the Full Description and/or to Apply for this Position

Closing:  February 6, 2019
Salary Range:  $55,551 – $75,000 annually

The Fiscal Research Division (FRD) seeks dynamic individuals with strong analytical skills who excel under pressure.  FRD analysts are non-partisan and serve as the primary budget and finance staff to the North Carolina General Assembly’s 170 members as well as its funding and policy committees.  The budget issues are complex, diverse, and cross multiple subject areas.  FRD analysts, along with other General Assembly non-partisan staff, have a unique opportunity to provide counsel to policymakers and participate directly in the policy development process.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Working directly with Legislators to develop the State’s budget and other legislation
  • Analyzing and presenting information on existing and/or proposed programs and policies
  • Providing accurate and reliable data and analysis
  • Making presentations and answering legislators’ questions in public committee meetings
  • Developing options to improve program efficiency and effectiveness
  • Composing analyses on the fiscal impact of proposed legislation
  • Collaborating closely with teammates and colleagues to support the legislative process
  • Monitoring agency actions to ensure compliance with legislative intent
  • Working objectively and impartially and adhering to strict confidentiality requirements

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

To meet the duties outlined above, candidates should be flexible, highly-motivated thinkers and communicators.  In addition, the following specific attributes are sought:

  • Ability to work cooperatively and maintain composure under pressure with legislators, legislative staff, colleagues, and the public on a daily basis
  • Clear and concise oral and written presentation skills
  • Demonstrated aptitude for providing high-quality program development and advice
  • Willingness and ability to work extended schedules and to provide on-call support
  • Comfort and proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint or similar products

Management prefers individuals who are:

  • Energized about public policy and delivering nonpartisan objective analysis
  • Creative problem solvers
  • Skilled at quantitative analysis
  • Excellent writers
  • Equally capable of successfully working independently or in a team environment.
  • Proficient public speakers

Education and Experience

We will only consider candidates with either:

  • A bachelor’s degree plus three years’ experience performing and presenting analyses, preferably in a public policy-related setting; or,
  • A master’s degree plus one year of experience performing and presenting analyses, preferably in a public policy-related setting.

Work experience (internships, client projects, etc.) accumulated while in an academic setting can be applied to meet the experience requirements.  Candidates anticipating the completion of a relevant master’s degree by May 2019 are encouraged to apply, provided that she or he meets all other requirements.

Public Policy Background: Candidates are expected to have a working knowledge of government functions and experience performing programmatic analyses.

Computer Skills: Candidates will be expected to demonstrate Microsoft Excel and Word proficiency in any potential in-person interview.

Accountant II, City of Durham (closes 1/28/19)

Click Here For the Full Description and/or to Apply for this Position

Closing:  January 28, 2019
Hiring Range:  $46,654 – $55,984 annually

The purpose of this position is to administer grant-related and general fund accounting and financial procedures for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. This is accomplished by interpreting federal and state regulations and City policies; managing accounting expenditure activity; initiating, managing and monitoring grant funded purchases; overseeing invoice procedures; managing property inventory; reviewing and executing contracts and amendments to ensure contractual compliance; developing and executing grant logistics; performing financial monitoring of contractors’ records; and handling other duties that include but are not limited to preparing journal entries and maintaining financial records for the department.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conducts difficult special or general review of accounting records and reports and verifying the correct application of accounting principles. Analyzes, reconciles, prepares, and enters journals for accounts, generates spreadsheets to audit general ledger, reviews documentation assessing for completeness and accuracy, prepares electronic copies and backup documentation to attach to journals.
  • Plans and develops charts of accounts, procedures, and systems for preparing fiscal reports and for maintaining special fund or special project control accounting records; and studies and recommends revisions in existing accounting forms and procedures.
  • Responsible for formulating, monitoring and reporting for the department’s federal, state, local and private grants and contracts related to Workforce Development.
  • Prepares and reviews contracts for conformance and compliance.
  • Develops and monitors budgets and requisite reporting.
  • Prepares documentation to support monthly federal drawdowns and salary allocations.
  • Maintains required grant reports and documents.
  • Monitors inventory.
  • Conducts monitoring visits of contractors and file reviews.
  • Prepares reports for Workforce Development Board.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor Degree in Accounting
  • 2 or more years in Accounting work
  • Experience with MUNIS and Federal/State grants strongly preferred

#NCLGBA18 Recap Series: “Take Me Back”

Over the last few weeks, we have featured reflections on the 2018 Winter Conference. 

Our final #NCLGBA18 Conference Recap comes from Brian Pahle, Assistant City Manager, City of Hendersonville.

Winter Conference 2018 at Dugan’s…I mean Pinehurst…Take me Back

It wasn’t long into my four hour drive from the sand hills of eastern NC back to my home in Hendersonville that I dove into a deep mental sabbatical pondering the happenings of the conference and what it means to be a local government professional in North Carolina. These monotonous travels are no stranger to me and have become one of my favorite times to reflect. So, it is no wonder that upon returning home I was well prepared to write a conference recap at the request of our great Marketing Coordinator, Heather Curry! This conference was truly special and as many conferences do, generated a thought-provoking, creative, mind befuddling response from my inner psyche. I left this conference feeling proud, concerned, enlightened, and inspired all at the same time. My reflection below will explain each of these moments.

A Sense of Pride and Hope in our Profession

The best part about these conferences is that I get the opportunity to interact with and learn from people that are much more intelligent than myself. When I first joined the Association in 2014 I did not quite know what to expect. Would it be all technical, would I relate with other members and make friends, or would it be more continuous education similar to the UNC School of Government’s courses? To my pleasant surprise, I stumbled upon an active, dedicated, inspiring, and fun membership that made me feel welcome. These members were sharing ideas, thinking creatively, and strategizing together about how to solve current local issues.

This past conference promised a powerful agenda and a room full of even more powerful speakers…and it DELIVERED! I left this conference feeling extremely proud that I get to interact with such a talented group of individuals. I also, felt a sense of hope that our future local government professionals will continue to improve on the path that has been already forged before us. From sharing the stage with superwoman Heather Drennan and an amazing leader Brian Barnett, to exchanging ideas at Dugan’s on career advancement with Eric Olmedo, and meeting an inspiring and confident young student who is interested in a budget career in Zach Lewis. All of these interactions, plus many more, highlight how diverse, exemplary, and talented our Association members are. The more we have the opportunity to share ideas and demonstrate our own unique strategies and qualities the better. We have a great Association that enables and encourages exactly that and I could not be more proud to be a member.

Concerning Trends – Help!

Something that had everyone in the room nodding was affordable housing and infrastructure needs. I found myself holding my jaw up as Jeff Staudinger rattled off the number of affordable units needed in various cities across our State. As Julie Porter discussed the Charlotte project, I sat silently thinking about our existing undocumented/unregulated 100 year old landfill that is currently playing a role in a brownfield redevelopment for our revival of on old mill building for affordable housing. What left me feeling most concerned was thinking about the infrastructure sitting idly by that is needed to support these housing projects and other critical economic functions of a successful local economy. Dr. Mike Walden highlighted the importance roads are going to play in our economic future, and more importantly where the funding will come from to support their construction. Even moreover is the battle of NIMBY-ism and YIMBY-ism that we are seeing everyday as our community battles with the 8 NCDOT projects proposed over the next 5 years. I sat in my car, feeling concerned about how we are going to address these major issues but also feel that we are up to the challenge.

Seeking Enlightenment – NCLGBA Inquire Within

An additional sense of pride, which also lent itself to enlightening my understanding of the profession, resulted from our discussions on equity, inclusion, gender and race. We are a diverse Association and I do not face the same challenges that others in our profession face on a daily basis. So, these sessions were uncharted territory for myself and I am sure many others. Uncharted, unfamiliar, and unknown are not things that scare me nor are they things that I avoid. Quite the opposite, I was excited to have these sessions on the agenda and felt motivated to explore more avenues for equity and inclusion in my work and daily life. The courage our speakers, members, and Association display by taking on these issues is welcomed and revered. I hope to see these continue as I still have so much to learn from our members and friends. Thank you to all of those who made these sessions possible, and let’s keep them going!

I Live for Happiness, Luckily Work is a Part of That

I took one exception with the “Life is Too Short” session and that is that you should not “live to work”. This is certainly applicable if you do not enjoy your job, or you grow frustrated with showing up to work every day. However, for me, this is not the case. I love my job and I love the community I work in. I could not tell you how many times my wife has had to smack me across the head to get me to shut up about my excitement for new storm drains or traffic lights (maybe there is something wrong the way I think, or maybe it is all the smacking, who knows). Nonetheless, I left this conference again, inspired to make improvements in my life and in my community. With the powers of understanding my amygdala hijack and having the right attitude, “I can do this”, I came back to work with a fresh set of tools, ideas, and motivation to help our community succeed. I hope you did too and cannot wait to see you this summer!

P.S. – Rumor has it that Josh Edwards is leading a session on how to champion a culture of innovation at work at the summer 2019 conference #DurhamiTeamRocks #TheChampsHere

Strategic Plan Finalized

The North Carolina Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) Board of Directors adopted a revised strategic plan at our board meeting prior to the start on the 2018 NCLGBA Winter Conference on December 12, 2018.

This post is meant to provide background on how we got to where we are today, as well as plans for the next few years. The full plan can be found here.

History/Background

In the summer of 2016, the idea of developing and adopting a revised strategic plan for the NCLGBA was discussed and ultimately agreed upon at the Summer Conference board meeting. It seemed every board meeting would revolve around the same 4-5 topics with some headway, but for the most part, no definitive goal or strategy for the issues identified. During the board meeting immediately prior to the 2017 Summer Conference, a formal planning process was proposed. In early February 2018, the NCLGBA Board of Directors distributed an online survey regarding the NCLGBA, its conferences, and the budgeting profession. While meant to gather member input on a variety of areas, it also became an additional asset in starting out our strategic planning discussions.

On February 9, 2018, the Board met in Fayetteville, North Carolina for a formal strategic planning session, led by Rebecca Jackson, the Strategic Performance Analytics Director for the City of Fayetteville. At this meeting we reviewed the initial survey results, discussed the current state of the association, and provided our thoughts on where the association is headed. We identified our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and areas for improvement and small groups were formed to farm out updated vision and mission statements.

Later that year, we met prior to the summer conference, on July 10, 2018 in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Rebecca Jackson again facilitated our discussion where we committed to a new vision and mission statement. We also identified five goals, in the areas of membership, partnerships, student participation, the certified budget and evaluation officer certification program, and sponsorships. In addition to the key questions associated with each goal, we listed out the objectives and performance measures that would allow us to measure our progress over the next three years.

The next few months involved fine tuning goal statements and performance measures and we held a final discussion in the fall at our board meeting on September 21, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The draft plan was then submitted to the NCLGBA listserv for feedback from our membership, and final adjustments were made prior to adoption in December 2018, prior to the start of the winter conference.

Next Steps

The nature of the goals and performance measures will require additional work from the current and future boards. Our intent is not to simply put this plan in a drawer to collect dust until a future board wants to update it again. We will provide updates on our progress at least one per year, either during the business lunch or via concurrent session at the summer or winter conference. We welcome and encourage input from all of our members, and if you want to be more involved, please reach out to myself or any of the other board members.

Stephen Hawryluk, NCLGBA President

#NCLGBA18 Recap Series: Reflection from a First-Time Attendee

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2018 Winter Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our second #NCLGBA18 Conference Recap comes from Dominique Walker, ICMA/NCACC Management Fellow, Bertie County, and 2018 Winter Conference Scholarship Recipient.

The NC Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) Conference exceeded any expectations I had of what the conference experience would be like and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend the event in Pinehurst. When I first applied to the Conference Scholarship, I was hesitant because of my lack of experiences working in the budgeting profession. However, I thought that by applying, it would be the perfect opportunity to network with budget analysts, directors, managers, and others in the profession, as well as learn more about budgeting in general. It was refreshing to see many people from my generation in attendance and serving in different capacities across the field. One of the best components from my time at the conference was the networking experience. I had the opportunity to engage with budgeting professionals from across the state and gain better insight about what it means to be a budget analyst and future local government executive. I appreciated their honesty and transparency about the challenges of working as an analyst as well as some of the more rewarding experiences.

I really enjoyed each of the sessions and I unquestionably learned something new from each of the presentations. The most impactful sessions that resonated with me the most were the Leading with Emotional Intelligence, Leading Women-Perspectives in Leadership and Budget, Data Analytics: the Power of BI, and the Policy Equity & Inclusion: Letting History and Community Voices Guide Institutional Choices sessions. Key takeaways that I learned from the Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Why EQ Matters? session was the understanding of emotional intelligence (EQ) and the difference between IQ and EQ. Understanding how EQ relates to the workplace and leadership success was extremely beneficial and I walked away with new resources on how to approach my daily activities.

Additionally, I really appreciated the discussion from the diverse panelists during the Leading Women-Perspectives in Leadership and Budget session. As a young African-American woman pursuing a career in local government, it was inspiring to see these women share their experiences in the field including what they enjoyed best, the complexities and challenges they have faced, and ways they handle stress and work-family balance. It was also uplifting to network with some of the panelists after the session to have one-on-one conversations that were equipped with much-needed career advice. Based on the Data Analytics: the Power of BI session, I have dedicated myself to learning all that I can about Power BI analytics. It is my hope to incorporate the methods used from the Data Analytics and the Policy Equity & Inclusion sessions into my projects in Bertie County to achieve equitable community engagement.

Overall, I had a tremendous experience as a first-time attendee at the NCLGBA Annual Conference and I walked away with more knowledge about the budgeting profession and how to be a more effective community leader within my field. The engagement and excitement from the attendees and the NCLGBA board was undeniable and I am eager in staying engaged with the NCLGBA. I also look forward to bringing more awareness about the budgeting profession and the NCLGBA to the next generation of public administrators.

Fiscal Analyst, City of Raleigh (closes 1/20/18)

Click Here For the Full Description and/or to Apply for this Position

Closing: January 20, 2019
Hiring Range:  $47,902 – $88,618 annually

This class is the fourth level in a seven-level Fiscal Services Series devoted to providing paraprofessional fiscal support and fiscal analysis and management.  Incumbents provide professional journey-level work in an accounting, budgeting, grants administration or related financial analysis function.  Work may include analytical, reconciliation, reporting and oversight work for the finance, accounting, budget, procurement, treasury and business services functions of central financial operations or a department’s financial operations. As assigned, incumbents may serve as lead workers, assigning work and monitoring work completion or may supervise paraprofessional and/or support staff including conducting performance evaluations, coordinating training, and implementing hiring, discipline and termination procedures.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manages and audits the payroll functions for all departmental employees.  All payroll adjustments related to over and under payment, leave adjustments, call and auto stipends.  Departmental liaison for Payroll, Finance, Human Resources and Worker’s Compensation; Subject Matter Expert (SME) for all payroll functions in the Emergency Communications Center.
  • Performs analysis and reviews to ensure accuracy of financial information to ensure accuracy and compliance with applicable policies, procedures, regulations and requirements; provides summary reporting and prepares recommendations based on findings.  As assigned, incumbents may serve as lead workers, assigning work and monitoring work completion or may supervise staff including conducting performance evaluations, coordinating training, and implementing hiring, discipline and termination procedures.
  • Monitors and administers fiscal accounting procedures, processes, transactions and/or system interfaces; identifies discrepancies, variances and financial irregularities; performs reconciliations; analyzes issues and recommends and coordinates problem resolution with staff, vendors and/or other operational stakeholders.
  • Serves as a functional liaison and provides internal and external customer support; performs research and review of financial accounts, budget transfers, contract documentation, grant funding, payments/receipts, billing, requisitions, asset tracking and lease information and/or other fiscal process and verifies accuracy, compliance, and/or need for change; recommends and implements adjustments, enhancements or updates.
  • Performs analysis of financial data and information; develops, updates and/or maintains financial reports, spreadsheets, statements, journal entries, schedules, agendas, projections, and/or presentations.
  • Reviews financial policies, procedures and practices; provides recommendations for enhancements; assists in developing, updating, implementing and monitoring compliance with policies and procedures.
  • Provides professional and technical support of assigned program or special project which may include budget development, monitoring and analytical support.
  • Performs other duties of a similar nature and level as assigned.
  • Position Specific Responsibilities Might Include:
  • Providing assistance and/or responds to inquiries from citizens, other stakeholders or first responders regarding technology projects and the emergency communications center as a whole.  Coordinates and serves as an active participant in WECO and 911 board meetings. Develops and maintains service level agreements and interlocal agreements
  • Preparing program budgets; schedules and attends staff meetings.
  • Assist in maintaining CALEA standards and accreditation for the department
  • Performing operational studies and provides recommendations;
  • Researching issues affecting policy development and municipal operations;
  • Facilitating public involvement and responding to citizen inquiries and complains;
  • Attending City Council and other meetings and providing follow-up briefings for depart director; public safety partners, and staff;
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of:

  • Principles and practices of program administration and management.
  • Principles and applications of critical thinking and analysis.
  • Principles and methods of qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Best practices, trends and emerging technologies.
  • Project management principles.
  • Modern budget practices.
  • Applicable federal, state and local laws, codes, regulations (based on assignment).
  • Customer service principles.
  • Specialized equipment relevant to area of assignment.
  • Modern office technology.

Skill in:

  • Managing fiscal processes, project or program.
  • Gathering data, analyzing findings and applying logic and reason.
  • Researching industry trends, solutions and best practices.
  • Interpreting, monitoring and reporting financial information and statistics.
  • Authoring and preparing original reports, documents and presentations.
  • Monitoring project schedules, status and compliance.
  • Organizing and maintaining fiscal program/process documentation, schedules, records and files.
  • Coordinating deadlines and prioritizing competing demands.
  • Interpreting and applying applicable laws, codes, regulations and standards (based on assignment).
  • Providing customer service.
  • Utilizing a computer and relevant software applications.
  • Utilizing communication and interpersonal skills as applied to interaction with coworkers, supervisors, the general public and others to sufficiently exchange or convey information and to receive work direction.

Education and Experience

Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business or public administration and two years of professional finance, budget analysis or accounting experience. Some assignments may require experience with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and/or public sector accounting and budgeting.
OR
An equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job such as those listed above, unless otherwise subject to any other requirements set forth in law or regulation.

#NCLGBA18 Recap Series: “This is How We Do It”

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2018 Winter Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our second #NCLGBA18 Conference Recap comes from Zach Lewis, MPA Candidate, North Carolina State University and 2018 Winter Conference Scholarship Recipient.

“This is How We Do It” – Key Takeaways from the Winter 2018 NCLGBA Conference from an Aspiring Local Government Leader

As a current first year MPA student looking to begin a career in public budgeting and finance, this was my first formal conference attendance specific to local government. I was incredibly humbled to have been selected as one of the scholarship recipients for the conference and will forever be thankful to those involved in presenting me with his opportunity.

When I arrived at the conference, my initial observation was that there were way more people in attendance than I had anticipated, most of whom were returning conference attendees. However, I was very warmly welcomed and quickly made a part of the NCLGBA family.

Located at the Carolina Inn in Pinehurst, NC, the venue and setting of the conference was beautiful – it was clear that the NCLGBA Board and the conference planning team had worked tirelessly to make this conference happen.

The welcoming environment, the well-planned conference, the “family” atmosphere, and the diversity of conference presentations spoke one thing: North Carolina is an awesome place to work in local government.

Here are 3 of my takeaways from the conference:

1) Innovation is happening in North Carolina local governments.
Unfortunately, one of the common stereotypes discussed regarding public sector employees is that “not much gets done,” or that government workers are “very set in their ways.” However, two of my favorite conference sessions seemingly challenged these claims by presenting innovative ways they are changing their budget processes – Durham County, NC and the City of Durham, NC. In the first session, “Data Analytics: The Power of BI,” presenters demonstrated how their budget offices and other departments are utilizing a new tool, Microsoft Power BI, to greatly improve their data analysis and visualization techniques, moving further ahead than the classic Microsoft Excel and encouraging other local governments to consider it as well.

In the second session, “Policy Equity & Inclusion: Letting History and Community Voices Guide Institutional Choices,” community leaders in the city of Durham discussed how using history to understand present day disparities is vital to creating more equitable futures and to not repeat the same mistakes. In the discussion, the Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of Durham discussed how the city has adopted a participatory budget process for $2.4 million dollars, hosting numerous public input sessions across the entire city so citizens can provide input on how they wish to see the money spent. This is creating an equitable way for citizens of all backgrounds to have the opportunity to provide vital input.

2) Difficult, but necessary conversations are happening at NCLGBA.
Continuing with the same session which discussed participatory budgeting “Policy Equity & Inclusion: Letting History and Community Voices Guide Institutional Choices,” this session urged counties and municipalities that are facing local disparities or equity problems to actively work to holistically understand the problems by utilizing local history to consider “how did we get here?” By embracing these difficult challenges, by engaging in difficult and often uncomfortable conversations, by creating community dialogues, and by providing equal and equitable ways for all citizens to provide public input, local governments across the state can begin creating better futures for all of those represented.

In a separate session, “Leading Women – Perspectives in Leadership and Budget,” female local government leaders discussed the challenges that they face or have faced during their careers working in local government. By creating these dialogues, not only are the issues acknowledged, but they provide the framework and a platform to begin collectively working to combat these problems and begin shaping a more-inclusive, more-equal workplace. This session was closed with a call to action, urging everyone to continue thinking about how to improve, not only when prompted to think about it – “don’t let this session run concurrently, let it run continuously.”

3) Personal growth is paramount to professional growth.
Although this was a “budgeting” conference, not all sessions dealt with budgeting and local government. Rather, two sessions focused on another important area – personal growth, implicitly emphasizing by learning how to grow as a person, we will better grow as a professional.

In the opening conference session, psychologist Heather Lee introduced emotional intelligence (EQ) and illustrated why EQ matters to be a successful leader. Learning ways to become more EQ conscience and improving our EQ skills is arguably more important than IQ in the workplace, and with both of these, we can prepare ourselves for a successful, well-to-do career in public service. Ultimately, “IQ skills get us hired, EQ skills keep us going and moving up the ladder.”

In one of the final conference sessions, Dan Pliszka from the City of Charlotte and author of his new book Life is Great: Even if Your Boat Flips Over helped teach us how to find value and success in all aspects of our life, switching to the adage “work to live” rather than “live to work.” If we shift our focus from “waiting for the weekend so we can finally live,” Dan emphasized that we would lose out on the majority of our life. Rather, we should be “living” each day – finding the joys and pleasures in all that we do and make every day a day that we look forward to.

The Winter 2018 NCLGBA conference was an incredible experience for me, both personally and professionally. The networks created, the sessions attended, the ideas shared, the stories told, and the dialogues created all helped to solidify one thing – my biggest takeaway of all – North Carolina’s local government leaders are some of the best in the nation.

#NCLGBA18 Winter Conference Recap Series

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2018 Winter Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our first #NCLGBA18 Conference Recap comes from Taylor Floyd, Senior Budget Analyst, City of Asheville.

After a long, long walk down a hall covered with garland, poinsettias and pictures of golfers, we were greeted by Pinehurst Mayor Nancy Fiorillo. In welcoming conference attendees, she informed us that she had signed a resolution lifting the limit on what we could spend in Pinehurst. I tried to do my part for the local economy during our time in the Sandhills.

“Empathy is the engine of influence”

The conference got started in earnest with a session on emotional intelligence led by Heather Lee of Developmental Associates. Lots of good information in this session focused around how important behaviors and interpersonal skills are in determining the success of individuals, teams and organizations. Heather highlighted that you don’t have to be friends with your coworkers, but you should learn to empathize with them. One comment – that the personal items you have in your office send a message to others about what they engage you on – made me reassess the objects (or lack of objects) I have in my own office. Ironically, one of those objects is the book, Influencer, which Heather recommended. Maybe I should read it before someone tries to engage me on it.

The legislature is still busy

The legislative update reminded me of previous conferences as special sessions have continued late into the year and there’s rumors of interest in sales tax distribution changes. One change coming as part of disaster relief legislation is a new Office of Recovery and Resiliency in the Department of Public Safety. Also, new tier designations from the Department of Commerce were released in November.

Organizational flexibility = Work-life balance

The final general session of the day featured a panel of four women discussing their experiences navigating a career in local government. This session reinforced the earlier discussion of how important empathy can be, as the panelist noted the value of working in supportive, flexible, family-first organizations. I was especially impressed by the flexibility some smaller organizations are able to offer, although it was noted that change on big issues like race and gender can be slow no matter the size. The panel’s thoughts on paid parental leave reminded me of the “curb cut effect” that I’ve learned about through conversations around equity and inclusion. In short, while sidewalk curb cuts are essential to mobility for some of our most vulnerable populations (i.e., disabled persons), they also help parents with strollers, people making deliveries, and travelers with suitcases. As the panel noted, everyone has dependents, so maybe paid parental leave is just the next step towards a better balance for everyone.

“Accounting is just following the rules, there are no rules in budgeting”

Day two started off with John Fishbein from GFOA showing us a lot of dos and don’ts in revenue forecasting and budget document production. He hit us with some solid lines, including my personal favorite, “the purpose of working, I think, is to keep your job.” John also evangelized on one of my dislikes – switching from landscape to portrait in a budget document. Just don’t. One analogy I’m planning to recycle is that “grants are like coupons,” in that you still have to spend money. It might be a good deal, but that’s doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

The experts don’t always agree

Thursday’s general sessions continued after lunch with a discussion of affordable housing. My former Asheville coworker Jeff Staudinger led a lively overview of what exactly the affordable housing crisis looks like in North Carolina and identified a wide variety of tools local governments can utilize to address it. Julie Porter of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership showed us how several of those tools came together in Charlotte’s Brightwalk redevelopment. While the tools are innumerable, my takeaway was that they should be targeted based on the outcomes you want to see in your community. As our speakers noted, building wealth for citizens and ensuring long-term housing affordability can be at odds with each other, and there’s no one right answer when it comes to meeting this critical community need.

The government Rubik’s Cube

The day wrapped with a trio of Durhamites. After an overview of historic discrimination and exclusion from Bull City 150’s Mel Norton, Neighborhood Improvement Services Assistant Director James Davis and Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson gave us organizational and political perspectives on the City of Durham’s efforts to shape a more equitable future. James Davis had the memorable metaphor in this session, telling us about how he solved a Rubik’s Cube with a butter knife. “Sometimes,” James said, “you have to dismantle the system if you can’t fix it within the parameters of the game.”

“You have to have a scoreboard”

Our final day kicked off a much-needed thirty minutes later, as many of us spent the prior night singing our hearts out to karaoke classics. Charlotte’s Dan Pliszka shared some humor and motivational messages from his recently published book, Life is Great, Even When Your Boat Flips Over. His suggestions for how to find success? Have a life goals list written down, but be flexible with it. Add a “to don’t” list to your “to do” list. And finally, apply an “audit T” when you have something in your life that could be better. This will look familiar to you accountants.

Issue/Challenge/Problem Statement

List what is good about it

List what is bad about it

Look at what is on the bad side, and you’ll likely see some actionable steps that can be taken to make things better.

Recession in 2020?

NC State’s Michael Walden wrapped up the conference with an economic outlook. His message was similar to those in past conferences: growth continues to be positive, but this economic expansion is long in the tooth. On the positive side, North Carolina has seen better rural and middle income job growth, expanding the expansion to communities that were hardest hit and slowest to recover from the Great Recession. Some potential problems on the horizon include household and business debt, energy prices, interest rate policy, stock market volatility, the potential for a foreign economic shock, and the ongoing trade war.

Overall it was a fantastic conference with good speakers, great food (pizza!), and the best attendees. Thanks to the conference planners for all their hard work and to the conference sponsors for supporting our organization. Wishing everyone a pain-free budget process, and hope to see you in July!

Grants Analyst, Gaston County (closes 1/3/19)

Click Here For the Full Description and/or to Apply for this Position

Closing:  January 3, 2019
Pay Range:  $22.83 – $36.52 per hour

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Perform pre- and post-award management, including grant application, management, reimbursement request, budget revisions, amendments and closeouts.
  • Collaborate with Grants Administrator to identify and pursue funding opportunities from federal, state, and other sources.
  • Research, analyze and interpret grant rules and regulations to ensure compliance with federal, state and local grant requirements.
  • Stay current with grant rules changes; communicate potential impact to appropriate staff through emails.
  • Determine grant eligibility for spending requests by reviewing state and federal OMB guidelines.
  • Monitor all reporting deadlines in various federal, state, and local systems, (e.g. NC/GCC Grant Enterprise Management Systems, Department of Justice reporting websites)
  • Monitor sub-recipient grant compliance by reviewing grant award requirements and/or special conditions.
  • Assist in maintaining and updating documentation for potential audits with both paper and electronic files.

Minimum Qualifications

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, Business Administration, or closely related field and at least one (1) year of experience and/or an internship working with grant preparation and management preferably in the public sector. A Master’s Degree or significant progress toward a Masters Degree can be substituted for required experience.