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Joe Casey June 2011. Elected Officials (EOs) Capacity Delegate Down.

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Presentation on theme: "Joe Casey June 2011. Elected Officials (EOs) Capacity Delegate Down."— Presentation transcript:

1 Joe Casey June 2011

2 Elected Officials (EOs) Capacity Delegate Down

3 Tips and Tricks Perspectives


5 Often our macro data makes it hard for the average person to understand context of our discussions $400 million budget Micro perspectives enables the average customer to understand $900 taxes per person

6 Their education, professional background and personality all contribute to their capacity to understand Capacity to want to understand Remember this is part-time for them while you deal with the issue full-time Mirror your first layer of information to lowest capacity to understand and use that as base Escalate information both in volume and sophistication in correlation to capacity; as applicable 1 to 1, 2x2, Committee, Board Public information, Town Halls

7 Detailed Schedules and Notes Short Stories, Longer Visual w/ Talking Points Visual


9 Talking Points Based on average profile of County taxpayer household Local and state low compared to peers If Federal reflects 50% who dont pay taxes, then >$15,000 Local taxes focused on schools and safety Service levels and results not shown, but also outperform peers Federal > $7500 State < $2100 Local < $980

10 Federal $43,92 5 Federal > $45,000 Talking Points Local/State debt for assets, low compared to peers and mostly referendum approved Federal not asset; deficit funding Local decreasing $1/day in last year, federal increasing $10/day in last year Local debt >80% for schools If local debt burden = federal, enough $ to build >100 new schools (logical???) Local < $1800 State < $2100

11 Finance has unique position to accumulate facts/data and EOs will go to the info source for follow-up Maintained by Public Information Officer Source via website for elected officials, citizens and even challengers – brings focus and fact to debate Have data fresh, to the point and easily understandable Examples 95% rated the overall quality of life in Hanover County as excellent or good; this was the highest percentage of any locality in the South Region that participated in the survey The average elementary student-to-classroom teacher ratio is 20.7:1 Good EOs like to tell stories (give speeches) and we want them to espouse facts; so make it easy for them


13 Make a personal commitment to work with elected officials They shouldnt be on defensive alone Dont play the blame game Engage them in the solution, not part of the problem Help them deliver key messages Create roles for elected officials Keeping them busy and out of your hair No surprises Recognize that some interactions may be painful

14 EOs Trust Capital of finance officials can often be the highest in the organization - rightfully so Keep high Trust Capital Know your comparative peers on issue being addressed The EOs keep in touch w/ their peers, so should you Review work within office first, then with CAO office second to perfect and achieve consensus on focus CC Chief Administrator and DCA on any e-mail to EO Remember they also need to look good and understand whats going on as they may get direct follow-up question

15 EOs and staff should welcome meetings and not hide from them Having a strong finance officials perspective with them at the meetings can bring calm to chaos and focus Dont just attend meetings during budget time or referendum Strategy of what types of meetings take place and when w/ staggered attendance goal Offensive – bring nice stories and illustrations Defensive - just answering questions Meet with citizen contact for meeting beforehand, develop good working relationship

16 Generally successful in opportunity to better engage and educate community Challenge in discussing issues to unknown audience on their home field Staff role varies (presentation, answer questions) Board member takes lead in introducing and facilitating Other supporting staff members may also be invited Citizens comments should be heard and respected No one citizen should consume meeting with questions nor overly focus on one topic If you put on a good show and citizens like you, then youre more likely to be invited back w/ EO Follow meeting w/ e-mail or call to citizen contact

17 Elected officials read newspapers and watch TV stories religiously when local issues EOs will then follow-up w/ people creating news Determine the monthly or staggered schedule for release of good stuff from your office Budgets, State reports (COLG), economic data (VEC), audits, bond ratings, debt issuances, awards, CPAs, etc. News media dont often seek out good financial stories, therefore you need to help them When slow news days, then opportunity for finance story


19 Old School Approach New School Approach Reactive One-year, start from scratch Across the board cuts Balance on employee backs Elected officials focus on the silly stuff Pro-active Five-year, evolve from plan Strategic reduction areas Employee is the best asset Elected official focus on defined service levels and goals

20 Somewhere in Between - Strategic Approach


22 Leaders want a person around them who: Pulls from above, but passes to below to leverage time and talents of others while creating capacity Thinks of new things to do, how to do existing things better Is Devils Advocate and Brainstormer (master these techniques) Difference between being assigned work and assigning good work

23 Aligning yourself in organization poised for upper management turnover Organization w/ history of growing employees to be promoted Ride the coattails: Having supervisors w/ ambition Precedence – is finance division from where upper management came from

24 Bottom-line – is it sustainable Sustainable success – inspire and empower Going out of business Good for morale, but can you keep it going Performance- Business Strategy Focus Driving results Purposeful Culture Focus Inspiring commitment and reinforcing what we stand for

25 Finance Chief Adm Key Meetings

26 Finance Director Chair: Elec Off (Alt) Chief Admin Deputy Admin

27 The broader the name, the broader the scope Many places limit scope too much w/ Audit Committee Consider even a broader and more strategic name Stewardship and Sustainability Committee If too high maybe Finance and Management Services Finance Director should be lead staff person Set agenda, invite guests, communicate with elected officials Committee scope should be documented Required meetings set by policy Closed sessions w/ auditors, others to discuss staff


29 Value Statements

30 COUNTY OF HANOVER, VIRGINIA Through this Mission to Vision illustration and accompanying tagline, the County clearly reflects focus areas, shared goals and values that a engaged workforce and community can transform together the Mission into Vision MISSION Provide superior quality of life that is defined, encouraged and supported by the community itself; where government focuses efficiently and effectively on the education, safety and human service needs of the people; where quality service delivery is based on sound stewardship practices; and where a sustainable future is pursued in innovative ways COMMUNITY Encourage business and manage growth while preserving natural resources EDUCATION Enhance educational opportunities SAFETY Protect and provide a safe community HUMAN SERVICES Promote self-sufficiency and quality of life ENGAGEMENT Fully engage the community and its volunteers WORKFORCE Leverage the workforce and leaders to their best potential SERVICE Maximize quality, customer convenience and satisfaction STEWARDSHIP Sound financial management and infrastructure practices VISION Where a family of communities, inspired by its people, traditions, spirit and history, is the foundation for its future Values – Commitment, Integrity, Accountability and Responsibility Focus Areas Goals Tagline: People, Tradition, Spirit, History


32 Virginias 2x2 rule enables discussions in private with two elected officials at one time All other discussions with three or established committees requires public notice, access and minutes Purpose of 2x2 Insight and frank discussions to determine pathways towards consensus Strategically selecting order and teams may enable proper recommendations to be formulated for public meeting Know which of your peers are in the room and prompt Chief Admin Chief Admin may want small audience who know EO so discussions are frank Therefore, dont just be audience member and know EO

33 50% of tax rate funds the public schools; therefore this warrants partnership in financial planning with School Board Joint Board meetings for critical issues Referendums for new schools and renovations Program initiatives – Trades and Technology Center 2x2 meetings expanded to 4x4 in county board representatives meeting with their school board counterparts Enables long-term, outcome based approach to achieve agreed-upon community-oriented goals Utilize same practice with other appointed boards


35 Current elected officials should be versed in key financial topics (budget, rates, services, debt, ratings) Political challengers have access to same financial info Finance officials can avail themselves to any citizen in helping define and explain information However, no one citizen should place any undue burden of time upon any staff (same for EOs burden on staff) Financial plans help focus debate on service adjustments rather than simplistic cut the rate Healthiest debates can focus on defining, funding and achieving goals for the community

36 Staffs challenge in meeting promises Newly elected officials natural desire for action sooner than later Reduced services or higher taxes were usually not mentioned in the campaign New officials natural skepticism of staff, policies and practices

37 Change to traditional focus to maintain tax rate Live within revenues generated from same rate If high assessment growth, target reduced rate Declining assessment values = lower tax bills Elected officials feedback from the campaign trail Lower my taxes – simplistic statement, yet resonating Voters tax angst mostly directed to federal/state taxes Any tax rate increase should be correlated to a service enhancement wanted by the citizens Something tangible and beneficial to virtually all If recession, considered if long-term viability threat is apparent and understood by average voter

38 38 Continuing Challenge - Understanding Lower Resources = Lower Services Short-term: Lower, constrained budgets = cost efficiencies More efficient not correlated to effective Service standards impacted Cause and effect of lower resources and less services should arise in LT Challenge is that cause and effect not as apparent in short-term Perception: resources high if no impact Senior management must be aware of long-term ramifications When does the effect occur? Higher crime, lower school test scores Educating elected officials and citizens on this topic is vital

39 Concessions made to get favorable vote (6-1 or 7-0) For difficult issues, further study with resolutions during adoption to address future goal Doesnt altar program in Year 1 of adopted budget Long-term financial plans may illustrate implementation of program change, but not official until subsequent years vote Targeted small low budget impact concessions A 4-3 vote (even 5-2) may indicate future challenge Unanimous votes may be sought for certain issues Referendums in order to garner subsequent district support Properly illustrating resource-service correlation

40 For elected officials of magisterial districts (not at-large) the need to illustrate to constituents a return on their taxes New capital investments mostly correlated to growth areas Challenge between districts may arise if growth areas correlated to certain districts Need to illustrate continued service goal accomplishment and infrastructure standards met amongst all districts Fire truck – public safety response times priority Consider rotating fire trucks so that new trucks spread equally Roads – maintain existing roads, road capacity challenges similar Schools – student: teacher ratio, school performance outcomes Libraries – book accessibility Financial overhead consequence in providing new capital equally amongst all districts annually

41 Incumbents uncompleted plans when leaving office New capital project with Year 2 debt/operating impact Initiative that involved multiple phases for successful completion and implementation Some of these plans may have been unpopular, but needed for long-term viability Funding sources and constraints may have been agreed-to by incumbent to implement next term Internal and informal consensus, not formal and public Mitigate environment of lame ducks future actions in creating greater challenges during transition

42 Critical and necessary component in ensuring newly elected official understands environment of what can and cant be done (e.g., local vs. state law) Focus on short-term actions and long-term goals Involves 40+ hours for all facets of local government Started within a few weeks after election Orientation manual started sooner when incumbent retires Campaign promises better understood and quantified with implementation constraints formulated Financial (lower service or additional revenues) Legal constraints may need state law change Important that implementation paths also formulated Returning elected officials may also benefit Even senior leaders and staff may benefit


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