Understanding local government finance is a fundamental task for a newly elected official. However, many leaders in government have limited knowledge of public finance. According to a Governing survey in 2016, only 38 percent of newly elected officials considered themselves experts or very knowledgeable about public finance.
As a local government finance manager, you are responsible for planning and developing budgets that serve the interests of the community. Financial planning and management is key to supporting successful government initiatives and ensuring that priorities for the community are funded in a sustainable manner. It’s crucial for elected officials to understand how budgets align with strategic goals to achieve the government’s objectives.
In this regard, communication is fundamental in your relationship with elected officials. You are the critical link to helping your elected official understand the government’s budget and financial policies, by providing the information and insight they need to be effective as policymakers. When elected officials understand the government’s financial story, they will be in a better position to share that story with citizens and stakeholders, and connect the work they do to the priorities established for the community.
At Questica’s November 7, 2020 webinar, Charlie Francis, Senior Consultant at Questica, and Ray Withy, City Council Member, City of Sausalito, California discussed best-practices, including:
- How to get the conversation started with newly elected officials
- Tips to show how budgeting is a part of the strategic plan
- Steps explaining why financial policies and long-term planning is important
- Common obstacles newly elected officials face and how you can help
To learn communication strategies from experts in local government, watch the video replay of Questica’s Communicating Financial Management to Your Newly Elected Local Official webinar.