Who Makes GFOA Policy and Positions?

By Dotson, Betsy | Government Finance Review, February 1993 | Go to article overview

Who Makes GFOA Policy and Positions?


Dotson, Betsy, Government Finance Review


The Annual Winter Meeting for GFOA Standing Committees held in Washington, DC, on January 26 and 27, 1993, marked the start of 1993's committee and policy process. By the time GFOA members vote on policies at the 1993 annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, some members may wonder where these policies came from and what effect their passage will have on the association and its members. The role of GFOA's standing committees in this process and the policy process itself is neither as mysterious nor as complex as it sometimes seems, and it provides many opportunities for participation by all GFOA members.

The formal policy process begins with the five GFOA Standing Committees, which are organized by subject matter.

Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting (CAAFR)

The CAAFR is responsible for monitoring developments involving all aspects of accounting, auditing and financial reporting for state and local governments. In doing so, the committee represents the GFOA's positions on current issues to a variety of standard-setting groups (e.g., the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget). In addition, the committee takes a proactive role in suggesting policies to improve the overall quality of accounting, auditing and financial reporting in the public sector.

Cash Management (Cash)

The Cash committee concentrates on activities concerning all aspects of cash availability and investments. This includes issues such as the receipt and custody of cash and securities, relationships with financial institutions, cash budgeting and forecasting, short-term borrowing practices and investment practices.

Governmental Budgeting and Management (Budget)

Issues of concern to the Budget committee include the budget practices of jurisdictions; the planning, integration, passage and execution of budgets; financial planning, services and operations; long-range capital budgeting; and cost implications to budgets resulting from federal policy changes and other actions. The committee also oversees the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program.

Governmental Debt and Fiscal Policy (Debt)

The Debt committee's charge is to promote sound financial health for state and local units of government by developing and advancing financial guidelines, policies and practices and by strengthening the partnership among all levels of government. Financing capital outlays through the use of long-term debt and the integration of debt management with federal initiatives such as arbitrage restrictions, infrastructure renewal, etc., are central concerns of this committee.

Retirement and Benefits Administration (CORBA)

CORBA's areas of responsibilities include public employee benefits with emphasis on retirement and health care issues. Of specific interest is the effect of federal policies on the delivery of benefits and on the investment of retirement system assets. In order to foster improved practices in state and local government retirement system administration, CORBA consults on GFOA's pension training sessions and publications.

Each committee consists of 25 members, up to five advisors and several ex-officio GFOA Executive Board members. The process for application to serve on a standing committee begins each summer, when announcements regarding application procedures and deadlines appear in the GFOA Newsletter. Applications are submitted to the Federal Liaison Center, which provides administrative support for all committee activities.

In late fall, committee members are appointed by the GFOA president to serve three-year terms that begin the following January 1. Committee membership is limited to two terms. These term limits were imposed in 1990 as a means of expanding participation in the standing committees. Committee chairs and vice chairs also are appointed by the president. …

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