Strategies for Getting to the Goal Line

Topics and speakers are subject to change.

Wednesday Thursday Friday


Wednesday, November 6

All Wednesday sessions are at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel.

8:00 a.m.
Bruce Testa Semi-Annual Golf Outing
The cost is $90.00 plus tax per person, which includes green fee, cart, range, and lunch. Tee time is 8:00 a.m. with a modified shotgun start. The golf outing will be a Florida Scramble (bogey is your friend), four closets to the pin, and a long drive holes contest for men and women. The golf outing is limited to 50 golfers, so sign up right away by emailing Tony Sekaly at or call 713-502-8575.

Texas Rangers Golf Course • 701 Brown Blvd., Arlington, TX 76011

10:00 a.m.–Noon
Certified Government Finance Officer’s (CGFO) Exam Study Group

Stanley Cup Ballroom

11:00 a.m.–Noon
CGFO Committee (restricted to CGFO members only)

Triple Crown Ballroom

Noon–2:00 p.m.
GFOAT Executive Board Meeting

Champions I Ballroom 

1:30–6:00 p.m.

Champions III Ballroom Foyer

2:00–3:00 p.m.

Conference Planning Committee

Champions I Ballroom 

2:00–4:30 p.m.
CGFO Testing

Hall of Fame Ballroom 

3:00–5:00 p.m.
COMMITTEE MEETINGS – Show your commitment to GFOAT and your career; attend a committee meeting and get involved. The informal nature of these meetings allows you to experience more than one committee.  You can pick the committee that best suits you.

  • Ethics Committee  – Super Bowl I
  • FRRR Committee – Super Bowl II
  • Membership Committee – Wimbledon
  • Legislative Committee – Stanley Cup Ballroom
  • Communications Committee – Champions Ballroom I
  • Scholarship, Fellowship, and Foundation Committee – Triple Crown

5:00–6:30 p.m.

Champions Ballrooms II-III

Thursday, November 7

All sessions are at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center.

7:00–8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast (0.0 CGFO/CPA)
This breakfast buffet is for all conference attendees and sponsors.

Exhibit Hall 1

7:00–5:00 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Foyer

Bennett Sandlin

8:00–9:00 a.m.
Welcome and Opening General Session (1.0 CGFO/CPE)
President’s Welcome
GFOAT President Sandy Mattick, Director of Finance, City of Boerne

Executive Director Welcome
Martie Simpson, Executive Director, GFOAT

Legislative Update
Bennett Sandlin, Executive Director, Texas Municipal League

Exhibit Hall 1

9:10–10:10 a.m.

Member Engagement/Learning the Ropes
Martie Simpson
, Executive Director, GFOAT

Exhibit Hall 2

Increasing Audit Agility with Data Analytics and Automation

Steve Biskie, Director, Risk Consulting, National Data Analytics Leader, RSM US LLP

Exhibit Hall 3

The Do’s and Don’ts of Contract Administration: Getting What You Paid for Not What You Get
Diane Palmer-Boeck, CPPO, PPMC, Director Procurement and Project Management, City of Plano

Exhibit Hall 4

10:10–10:35 a.m.
Refreshment Break/Sponsor Networking

Exhibit Hall 1

10:35–11:25 a.m.

Hot Topics
Moderated by GFOAT North Area Representative John Zagurski, Director of Finance, Town Northlake

Exhibit Hall 2

Governmental Accounting 101
Are you new to government finance?  This session will teach you the basics, along with some practical guidance about the evolution and practice of accounting for governments.
Keith A. Dagen, Director of Finance, City of Richardson

Exhibit Hall 3

Financial Well Being Beyond Utility Rates – A Check on Financial Policies and Other Fee Considerations
Financial planning reviews offer ongoing preventative care and periodic financial check-ups, in the same way, a doctor annually checks on your physical health.  Does your organization/city routinely update its financial plan, and review prime indicators of financial well-being such as reserves, cash balances, and capital funding ratio requirements? Will you need to increase your rates to pay for new infrastructure?  Monitoring and updating miscellaneous fees (tap fees, deposits, reconnect/disconnect fees) as well as development fees and other user fees is an increasingly important issue.  Join us to talk about checking your vital signs, making a financial fitness plan, and taking corrective action.
Rebecca Schafer, Executive Consultant, NewGen Strategies & Solutions

Exhibit Hall 4

11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Presiding: GFOAT President Sandy Mattick, Director of Finance, City of Boerne

Exhibit Hall 1

12:30–2:00 p.m.

Senate Bill 2 Update
Bennett Sandlin
, Executive Director, Texas Municipal League

Exhibit Hall 2

 Transparency Stars Program
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Transparency Stars program recognizes local governments for going above and beyond in their transparency efforts. Please join us for a panel discussion with experts from cities that have received the highest honor in obtaining all five stars.
Bethany McCrady, Senior Financial Analyst, City of Richardson; Kim Townsend, Senior Accountant, City of Rowlett; and Chance Miller, Financial Compliance Officer, City of McKinney

Exhibit Hall 3

Balancing the Budget with Limited Resources
Local governments continue to face the challenge of providing services to their communities with limited financial resources. With the passage of the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act, most local governments will be preparing next year’s budgets with limited property tax revenues. During this session, our panel will review strategies on how to prepare a budget under the current legislative environment and discuss strategies and recommendations to continue sustained financial viability in the future.
Sidonna Foust, Director of Finance, City of Haltom City, Steve Williams, Assistant  City Administrator/Chief Financial Officer, City of Conroe, and Clara Santos, CGFO, Department Fiscal Administrator, City of San Antonio

Exhibit Hall 4


2:10–3:15 p.m.

Strategies to Reduce and Address Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) and Rising Costs 
This session will discuss the latest trends to reduce OPEB liabilities and address rising pension costs. Our expert panel will address questions that your agency needs to know such, as: how can my city manage its retiree healthcare obligations?      Why should public agencies pre-fund their liabilities? What benefit and funding strategies should my city consider? What    options do I have available to address my pension liabilities and stabilize pension costs?
Andrea Cockrell, Administrative Services Manager, City of Plano; Christian Goodman, Consulting Actuary; Tim Buckley, Senior Investment Consultant, and Stephanie Peterson, Consulting Actuary Health, Milliman

Exhibit Hall 2

Bonds 101
Demystifying the debt issuance process. The who, what, why, and how of the debt issuance process.
Jeff Gulbas, Partner, McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP, Deborah A. Mol, CPA, Director of Finance, City of Mesquite and Marti Shew, Director, Hilltop Securities Inc.

Exhibit Hall 3

GASB Update
GASB has been busy this year with six new standards that will go into effect in the next three years (fiscal years 2019-2021). Topics discussed will include asset retirement obligations, fiduciary activities, leases, and recent exposure documents.
Robert B. Scott
, ACM/Chief Financial Officer, City of Carrollton; and Sara Dempsey, Partner, Weaver

Exhibit Hall 4


3:15–3:45 p.m.
Refreshment Break/Sponsor Networking


Meagan Johnson

3:45–5:00 p.m.
General Session (1.0 CGFO/CPE)

Zap the Gap Generational Difference Reexamined
Meagan tackles millennial generational challenges, myths, and misunderstanding head-on. Unwilling to accept standard by-the-book generational generalizations, Meagan demonstrates to audiences, through her own in-depth research and program customization, that millennials possess differences and strengths that go beyond mere age and appearance. Move beyond complaining about the younger generation and revisiting old generational information. Learn from Meagan Johnson what you can do right now to connect and engage with the Millennial Generation.

Meagan Johnson, Generational Expert, Speaker, and Author
Moderator: GFOAT President Sandy Mattick, Director of Finance, City of Boerne

Exhibit Hall 1

Photo Credit: Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau

5:30–8:30 p.m.
Wear your favorite football jersey, and join us for a fun evening of networking, dinner, and a VIP guided tour of AT&T Stadium. Transportation is provided to and from the Sheraton Arlington Hotel. This event is included in your registration fee. If you would like to bring a guest not registered for the conference, the cost is $75.00. [ View Invite ]

Friday, November 8

All sessions are at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center.

7:00–8:00 a.m.
Breakfast (0.0 CGFO/CPA)
This breakfast buffet is for all conference attendees.

Exhibit Hall 1

8:10–9:25 a.m.

Intro to Utility Billing
Kate Boatler, Finance Director, Lake Cities Municipal Utility Authority

Exhibit Hall 2

Public Corruption Identification and Investigation
Philip Stephenson, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Exhibit Hall 3

A Framework and Creative Strategies for Capital Planning
Citizens expect their governments to build and maintain infrastructure and amenities that make their daily lives possible   and enjoyable. This session will offer an overview of how to financially plan for those core tasks. Also, this session will assist in balancing capital needs and challenges, along with employing effective strategies and methods used by cities and their capital improvement plan (CIP). 
Tim Dettlaff, Senior Vice President Asset Management, Ameresco, Inc.; and Matthew Yager, Principal Budget/CIP Analyst, City of Plano

Exhibit Hall 4

9:25–10:00 a.m.
Refreshment Break/Sponsor Networking

Exhibit Hall 1


Kelly Richmond Pope

10:00 a.m.–Noon
“All the Queen’s Horses: The Rita Crundwell Story”
In 2012, Crundwell was arrested as the largest municipal fraud perpetrator in the Nation’s history, embezzling upwards of $50 million as the comptroller and treasurer of the City of Dixon, in the heart of Illinois. Rita Crundwell became one of the Nation’s leading quarter horse breeders, traveled the world, and threw lavish parties, all while forcing staff cuts, police budget slashing, and leaving public infrastructure in disrepair. All the Queen’s Horses aims to illuminate this landmark case and bring to light the blatant negligence of auditors and bankers the public relied on to keep their tax dollars safe.
Kelly Richmond Pope
, Forensic Accountant, Professor, and Filmmaker 
Moderator: Martie Simpson, Executive Director, GFOAT

President’s Closing Remarks
GFOAT President Sandy Mattick, Director of Finance, City of Boerne

Exhibit Hall 1

Comments are closed.