Who cares about the budget and the local government budget association? Fair question!

Who cares about the budget and the local government budget association?

Fair question! While I knew I had an interest in local government when I started the MPA program at UNC-Chapel Hill, I did not have a distinct interest in the budget process or NCLGBA. (To be fair, I didn’t know NCLGBA even existed!) I now have an immense interest in local government budgeting and that is in no small part due to NCLGBA and their bi-annual conferences. I have been to three NCLGBA conferences as a student, including the most recent winter conference in Asheville. Here is a summary of why I am a fan of NCLGBA and the work its members do.

Information. Good” governance depends on a “good” budget. It is the work of budget officials at local governments that make local government work the way it does, for better or worse. NCLGBA, through their conferences and certification process, provides valuable information on budgeting and performance-management related topics. The association does a great job bringing in experts on various subjects to their conferences to provide this information to members. In Asheville, some of the numerous of sessions offered included those focused on strategic planning, building a budget office, organizational change, artificial intelligence (AI), the unit assistance list (UAL), and updates on the relevant political and economic trends in the state.  NCLGBA, in addition to the School of Government, is a central resource for budget officials to learn and gather information.

Mentorship and networking. Through NCLGBA, I have developed mentorship and professional relationships with “budgeteers” throughout the state. These are relationships that have continued beyond NCLGBA and have helped me immensely as I try to find my path professionally. Conferences provide both structured and unstructured opportunities to meet others and I have found members of the association to be very welcoming.

Professional Development. The budget office is a common path to the manager’s office and there are current managers that started in the budget office and continue to attend the conferences and provide mentorship to others. In Asheville, I was able to attend a “speed-coaching” event with current county and municipal managers. Plus, many members pursue leadership opportunities within the association that help them develop skills for future leadership positions in their workplaces. The association provides several opportunities to figure out and pursue your next professional step.

For the Winter 2023 conference in Asheville, I was awarded the Judy Ikerd Endowed Scholarship, and I would like to again thank the association and board for this recognition and support. It is clear through their scholarship programs that they care about developing the next generation of budget officials!