#NCLGBA21 Recap Series: Combining Creativity and Data in a Budgeting Career

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2021 Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our next #NCLGBA21 Conference Recap comes from Ashlee Anderson, one of the scholarship winners for the 2021 Summer Conference, and MPA Candidate at North Carolina Central University.

Hello fellow budgeting enthusiast! To all I did not have the opportunity to personally meet at the conference, my name is Ashlee Anderson, and I am currently in my second year of the Master of Public Administration program at North Carolina Central University. I am so honored to be selected as one of the Summer 2021 NCLGBA Conference scholarship recipients. I honestly did not have much experience with the public sector, particularly budgeting prior to this summer’s conference. However, my attendance at the NCLGBA Summer Conference in Wilmington opened my eyes to the many careers in budgeting offered state- and nationwide. Before attending the conference, I had other interests in the Public Administration field but frankly no desire to pursue careers in budgeting. I now admit that with the exposure experienced over the course of 3 days at this amazing conference, I have fallen in love with budgeting.

There were many insightful sessions opened my eyes to the fact that budgeting isn’t just about the numbers but about the impact we as public administrators are able to make through allocating funds. I particularly enjoyed the breakout sessions with Andrew Kleine and Alex Norman. Andrew’s session, “Turning Curves: How to get Better Results for Customers and Communities,” really drove home for me the integral role of budgeters in building an equitable community. Andrew shared the importance of being results-oriented and broke down how to use Results Based Accountability to ensure these results are achieved. In this mini session Andrew broke down how to use strategic planning and performance management to effectively use this tool.

I consider myself a creative and felt a sense of relief while attending Alex Norman’s session, “How I Learned to Stop Using Words and Love Design.” Prior to this session I feared that a career in the public sector meant trading creativity for policy, data, and reports. Seeing Alex present this same information in a creative way energized me and made me realize that in a budgeting career I will be able to marry my passion for creating and my love of data. After Alex’s session I felt I had gained new knowledge on how to present information to the public in a way that is Simple, Shareable, and Sexy and I now look forward to using these new skills in a future career.

I was most personally impacted by Thursday’s session: “Diversity is More than Just a (Buzz) Word”. Keyana Walston and Justin Amos did an amazing job facilitating what can sometimes be a difficult conversation and I am so thankful for the panelists who were so courageous in sharing their personal stories. After hearing their experiences, I felt even more empowered in my decision to pursue a career as a public administrator. As a black female I was especially taken by Patrice Toney’s experience, and later learning from her that there are currently only 3 black female budgeting directors, I understood why representation is so important.

Without this experience, and meeting and hearing the experiences of members of the public budgeting community, I would have never considered a career in public budgeting. I am so thankful to not only get out of the house for a beautiful weekend at the Wilmington Riverfront and put on actual clothes, but also to have been afforded the opportunity to be surrounded by such an amazing, diverse, and experienced group of public servants. I can’t wait to attend again in the future, perhaps as a member as the public budgeting community myself.

#NCLGBA21 Recap Series: A New Career Possibility

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2021 Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our next #NCLGBA21 Conference Recap comes from Tiffany Oliva, one of the scholarship winners for the 2021 Summer Conference, ARPA Coordinator for the City of Winston-Salem, and a student at UNC MPA.

This year, in 2021, I was so thankful to have taken the leap to apply and be selected as one of two scholarship recipients for the NCLGBA Summer Conference. As a young professional, I was excited to join an in-person conference focused on local government; it would be my first. To my dismay, I ended up not being able to join in person. So, to those of you I was not able to meet, *extends virtual handshake* Hello! I’m Tiffany Oliva, and I am a current student at UNC School of Government pursuing my Master of Public Administration with a concentration in local government. I also have the pleasure of working with the City of Winston-Salem. Even though I have only lived about a quarter of a century, working with the City has been one of the greatest honors of my life. It opened the door into a field that I had not even considered as one BIG way to make public service impact. I hope our paths will get to cross someday soon!

Now, back to what you came here for . . . my conference recap! With topics ranging from the American Rescue Plan Act funds to diversity to understanding the historical framework of budgeting and where we may be headed, I learned a great deal (to say the least!). I have experientially seen how important the budgeting process is. I also understand how it is, essentially, the living and breathing document of our local governments’ values and priorities. This conference solidified that for me, but it also made me realize that I should really considered budgeting as a potential career path. That is something I have always had tucked away in my mind, but it definitely brought it to the front of mind.

One of my favorite sessions was on day two: Turning Traditional Budgeting on Its Head. I really enjoyed hearing Andrew Kleine’s presentation. I found myself learning a great deal and also laughing quite a bit. His analogy of the traditional budgeting process to an iceberg with layers building up over time and becoming a slower, heavier mass really made a statement to me about the need for change. Government is increasingly being expected to do more for less, and to move more quickly. Andrew mentioned a theme from David Osborne and Peter Hutchinson’s book, “The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis”, which was that budgeting should be outcome based. An outcomes-based budget means that you are purchasing results, rather than funding line-items. Three ways that Andrew suggests changing the budgeting process include:

  • Change the starting point for budgeting to what you want to accomplish next year and the years to come.
  • Put outcomes ahead of the org chart by replacing silos with pools (meaning that you allocate money to outcomes not agencies).
  • Shift the budget debate by talking more about how we can improve outcomes or performance, rather than how many dollars we should be budgeting.

But there were many more takeaways, and lucky for us, we have the opportunity to re-watch the presentations here.

In closing, I promise Andrew didn’t pay me for this plug, but I will also be picking up City On The Line (one of his books) soon! Needless to say, I certainly built a reading list through the conference that I am excited to dig in and through.

I hope that you enjoyed the presentations just as much as I did! A huge thank you to NCLGBA for allowing me to be a part of it!

Sponsor Spotlight: Summer 2021 Conference Sponsors

NCLGBA recently held our first in-person conference since December 2019! The event provided an exciting opportunity to network at a safe distance in-person and continue to bring high-quality content to our members. One of the factors that made the conference a success was the generosity of our sponsors. Check them out below. Thank you again for your support of NCLGBA!

Summer 2021 Conference Sponsor Information

Presenting/Title Sponsors

Civic Federal Credit Union (Brochure) (Video)

Governor’s Commission

Debt Book (Flyer) (Video)

Local Government Federal Credit Union (Brochure) (UNC SOG Scholarship Info) (Products & Services) (Video)

Gallagher (Handout) (NCHIP Info) (Video)

Mark III (Video)

First Tryon (Video)

Legislative Committee

ADW Architects (Handout) (Video)

Oracle (Brochure) (Self-Service Advice and Guidance) (Video)

Edifice General Contractors (Video)


MGT Consulting Group (Overview)

Davenport Public Finance


Public Input

ClearPoint Strategy

#NCLGBA21 Recap Series: A Joy to Come Back Together

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2021 Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our first #NCLGBA21 Conference Recap comes from Kimberly Leonard, Budget Manager at Pender County.

July 21st, I was excited to return to the first in person NCLGBA conference since December 2019. Although the NCLGBA conferences seem to always exhibit a lot of Board generated enthusiasm; this year, you could feel an elevated level of energy erupting from the 157 registered participants, who appeared delighted to have direct contact with fellow budgeteers.

Many of us returned knowing our revenue projections for the last two years had larger variances to actual than any time in our county’s recorded past because of unknown COVID impacts. Soon after the  conference began, these variances were put into perspective and our self-confidence began to return as one of the larger counties reported a 69% variance in their sales tax projections. This was followed by economist Dr. Adam Jones confessing his previous economic projections had been off target due to the unknowns accompanying our first large pandemic. Due to the continuing unknowns, Dr. Jones provided us with a lot of information to assist in developing our own economic projections, including reasons for the previous economic assumption variances.

The economic update session was followed by numerous educational opportunities, from technical sessions, such as recommendations for your ARP and CARES funding, performance culture, problem solving, data presentations and diversity; to sessions on professional relationships, including relationships with elected officials and careers in budgeting, and  even personal sessions, such as personal financial health impacts on personal health and desk yoga. A few of my biggest takeaways from these sessions were:

  • Employees’ personal financial issues may be costing my county an estimated $2,250,000 in lost productivity.
  • Measuring our County’s budget expenditure percentages by county objective versus by department would help merge our perception with reality. In addition, it would aid in creating a county wide perspective within departments.
  • You should establish a method for personal development for your employees before they are ever hired, to aid in employee retention.
  • When working with your County Commissioners always recognize their time limitations and give them bullet points. Provide information in small pieces over a period of time.

Although we learned a lot from the seminars, we also learned a significant amount from interacting with other participants. The reception Wednesday night not only provided a great social opportunity, but was accompanied with great food and drinks, such as a grits and shrimp bar, cupcakes, crab cakes, and fried pimento cheese. In addition to making great connections and obtaining productive suggestions for a few budgeting obstacles, I also obtained a list of great sightseeing ideas for my Asheville vacation in November. The comraderies and relationships that we developed will continue to grow in years to come.

As we return to work to implement and utilize a lot of the knowledge obtained from this conference, I hope everyone who worked to make this event such a great success realizes the impact of their efforts. Thank you to all who contributed to the success.

Conference Materials Now Available Online

Presentations and handouts from the Summer 2021 Conference are now available online. Find them here, or in the Resource Archive.

A final thank you to our sponsors, conference planning committee, and moderators who helped make the Summer 2021 Conference a success! If you have suggestions for future conference topics or are interested in helping with a future conference, please reach out to us by emailing conference@nclgba.org.

Summer 2021 Conference Agenda

Happy Monday! We are a short two days away from our 2021 Summer Conference!

The final conference agenda can be found here. In addition to a great agenda, we are looking for eager volunteers to help with the registration desk, authoring conference recaps, and getting active on social media. If you have any interest in helping us out during the conference, please email conference@nclgba.org and specify how you would like to help.

Safe travels to Wilmington and see you soon!

Sponsor Spotlight: Civic Federal Credit Union

Between now and the start of the 2021 Summer Conference, an occasional series on NCLGBA’s blog will shine a spotlight on our conference sponsors so that you can get to know them and the services they provide.  First up is the Civic Federal Credit Union – a Presenting/Title level sponsor for 2020-21.

Strength of Public Service

In the words of Condoleezza Rice, “There is no greater challenge and there is no greater honor than to be in public service.” The trust that communities put in your abilities as budget professionals is immeasurable. From leadership to strategy and financial management, your work impacts North Carolinians in real ways.

Choosing a financial partner that shares this commitment to service can add value to your planning and help your team achieve its financial goals.

A Shared Commitment to Service and Innovation

Civic Federal Credit Union was founded for this very reason. Civic was created for people who serve local communities and their friends and families.  And just as budgeting and financial strategies have been modernized over the years, our teams provide secure, online financial options to individuals and small businesses to help scale up or help maintain steady growth.

It is in this spirit, that we are a proud sponsor of the NCLGBA 2021 Summer Conference and the important work of budget professionals in local government.

Modern Banking with Technology [and Personal Service]

Meeting the needs of local communities has been the goal of credit unions for hundreds of years. Now, Civic has created a modern, online credit union with fast access, new efficiencies, and opportunities for members to earn, grow and save money.

We believe a commitment to service is a commitment to empowering people.

For this reason, Civic blends technology and people to exceed member expectations across North Carolina. Using a mobile device or computer, members access low rates, ways to earn high dividends, and custom financial solutions. And our members have access to Customer Experience professionals who can guide everything from opening an account to options for equipment financing.

It is this combination of people and technology that helps communities and small businesses unlock opportunities for economic success.

Innovation for Budget Professionals

While budgets determine the available resources, Civic helps to maximize those resources and stay on track to bring budget innovation to your organization. As a full-service financial Federal Credit Union, your funds are federally insured by NCUA up to maximum account limits.

And the shared appreciation between a budget professional and a financial institution for maximizing budgets is not lost on us. Anytime an organization can earn, save and grow funds—while saving time, is a viable option worth exploring.

Moreover, as a Civic member, you have access to some of the lowest rates available and flexible terms including:

  • Personal and small business loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Rewards credit cards (cashback)
  • Vehicle loans
  • Financial well-being guidance
  • Deposit accounts
  • Rewards Checking accounts (earn dividends on balances)
  • Commercial real estate loans
  • Affinity debit cards
  • Certificates of deposit
  • and more…

Proud Supporters of Fire and EMS

Our Civic teams are committed to helping people and creating a strong sense of community. With new digital tools and efficiencies, local government organizations are earning more on their deposits.

And local volunteer fire departments, EMS, and police departments are accessing affordable financing for equipment and vehicles. We have given more than $3 million to the North Carolina State Firefighter’s Association through our Affinity Card program. And Civic financing has helped communities build more than 100 firehouses and financed more than 650 emergency vehicles.

Across North Carolina, there are community groups with important programs that serve local needs. Civic’s partnership team works with local change-makers to help accelerate nonprofit programs designed to serve needs such as food insecurity and access to equitable lending.

Resources for Communities to Thrive

At Civic, we see the role of budget professionals as the key to helping local communities achieve financial success.  And together in service, communities can be even stronger.

Visit https://www.civicfcu.org/ to learn more.

About Civic Federal Credit Union

As North Carolina’s first digital credit union, Civic is a member-led organization that serves local government employees, their families, and small businesses. Created in 2018, Civic is focused on improving the lives of North Carolinians in all communities within the state.  As a member organization, Civic has reimagined financial services ‘beyond the branch’ and expanded access for people across the state using the secure app and web technology for any time and convenient banking options. The credit union designs products and services which empower people to achieve financial goals, increase financial wellness and, in turn, create stronger communities. In addition, Civic is a member of the Global Alliance for Banking Values, an independent network of banks using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social, and environmental development. Civic serves all 100 counties in North Carolina from its Raleigh, N.C. headquarters, a sustainable and LEED Gold-certified building.

2021 Summer Conference Scholarship Application is Live

The Board is pleased to announce that the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2021 Summer Conference in Wilmington from July 21 – 23. All applications are due by 11:59PM EST on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Eligible applicants should submit their application via email to scholarship@nclgba.org with the subject line #NCLGBA Scholarship Program. Scholarship recipient(s) will receive a paid registration and two-night hotel stay for the 2021 Summer Conference in Wilmington from July 21-23, 2021. Also, as an option, the recipient can opt to attend the conference virtually and receive up-to $250 for a NCLGBA Board approved professional development opportunity.

Eligible applicants are first-time conference attendees, which include MPA students, interns, and professionals in our field. The 2021 Summer Conference Scholarship Application is attached and available on the website by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is interested in attending the NCLGBA 2021 Summer Conference as a scholarship winner, I encourage you to apply or pass along this announcement. Please check out the NCLGBA website for information and updates about the upcoming conference. For any questions, feel free to email scholarship@nclgba.org.

2021 Summer Conference – Registration Open!

Registration for the 2021 Summer Conference, to be held in person July 21-23, 2021, is now open!

We are acting on your feedback regarding COVID precautions by expanding into a larger conference space and requiring masks and social distancing. We’ve also added an agreement to our registration links, asking participants to stay home if sick and comply with any COVID-related precautions. Our moderators and conference planners are working hard to plan great content and a safe experience for all our members. We will also have a virtual attendance option for the general sessions only.

Head over to the Conferences page for all the details.

If you have any questions, please direct them to conference@nclgba.org.

Membership for FY21 is Open

Check out the Membership page for details on joining or renewing your membership with NCLGBA.

RSVP to the Summer 2021 Conference Planning Meeting

On behalf of the NCLGBA Board, we invite you to the NCLGBA 2021 Summer Conference – Virtual Planning Meeting on Friday, February 19th, 2021!

The objectives are to:

  1. brainstorm conference session topics that are exciting and relevant to our members,
  2. secure volunteer commitments including moderators and registration help, and
  3. networking with state-wide colleagues!

Click here to RSVP (yes or no) by Friday, February 5th, 2021. All local government budget professionals are welcome to attend! Even if you can’t attend, please follow the link to share ideas for session topics, speakers, and/or volunteer to be a moderator or help with other conference opportunities.

Join us via Zoom, meeting invitation to be sent at a later date.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When and where is the 2021 Summer Conference?

The 2021 Summer Conference will be held July 14th – 16th and is currently being planned to take place in person at the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront.

Will CBEO exams be offered at the planning meeting?

No, we are hoping to schedule exams for a different date.  Please keep an eye to the listserv for further updates on CBEO exam opportunities.

Is the Planning Meeting only meant for Board Members?

No, all local government budget professionals are welcome! Even if you do finance, strategic planning, or data analytics you are welcome!

If you can’t make it, the best way to share with us your ideas is through the RSVP link and then Heather can follow up accordingly. She will be sure to include it as part of our presentation, so if someone wants to moderate such a session then she’d connect both of you.

As always, thank you all for coming together to create great experiences and professional development opportunities for our colleagues across the State.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Heather Curry or Brian Pahle.