2020 CSMFO Annual Conference

Pre-conference Training Sessions (separate registration required)*

Tue, 8 Jan 2019
9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Pre-conference Training Sessions (separate registration required)*

Note: Pre-Conference Sessions are not included in the conference registration fee. An additional fee of $150.00 includes the cost of the session, materials and lunch.


The Art of Public Speaking for Finance Officers: Can You Hear Me Now?

Session Type: Leadership and Management
Includes materials and lunch
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Speaking in public has long been a fear for the majority of our society, and finance officers are no different. Working with numbers is second nature to everyone in our industry, but speaking about numbers in front of people is a different story. This pre-conference training will explore the vast nuances of public speaking, with an opportunity for attendees to speak in front of their peers. The day will provide solid examples of how to turn fears into opportunities while being a successful speaker and communicator. Join our instructor as he dissects the intricacies of how to give a solid speech while breaking down the anxiety many feel when they stand in front of people. His many years of speaking in public provide him with a vast array of “tips and tricks” that should help everyone. We hope to see you there for a multi-media rich informational day!


  • Phil Bertolini, CIO/Deputy County Executive, Oakland County, Michigan

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson appointed Phil Bertolini as Deputy County Executive/CIO for Oakland County in January 2005. Prior to that, Phil served as Oakland County’s Director of Information Technology (IT). Phil is an accomplished public speaker, having presented across the United States and as far away as Australia and Dubai. Most recently, Phil and his team presented for the 2017 ESRI User Conference Plenary Session in front of approximately 18,000 attendees. He also provided the keynote address at the 2018 Laserfiche Empower Conference in front of an audience of approximately 5,000 attendees. Public speaking continues to be his passion, along with providing quality government services to his citizens. Phil Bertolini has been one of CSMFO’s featured speakers for the past 5 years on topics ranging from the role of Finance in IT to being successful when implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. For the past several years, Phil has been instructing a class on public speaking for assessing officers in the State of Michigan based on a course he personally wrote. Phil has spoken extensively about eGovernment best practices and has authored a growing collection of resources to help other organizations modernize IT within today’s rapidly changing technology landscape.

Among his many honors and awards, he was named a 2017 Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, and inducted as a member of the 2017 CIO Hall of Fame by CIO Magazine. The President Obama White House honored him as a Champion of Change for 2012, and he was named the 2010 Outstanding Alumni for the College of Communications, Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. He also serves as President of the Communications, Arts and Sciences Alumni Board at Michigan State University. Phil received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University. He resides in Oakland County, Michigan with his wife and two children.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bonds (but Were Afraid to Ask)

Session Type: Treasury and Debt Management
Includes materials and lunch
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

This interactive session will demystify the process of issuing municipal bonds by guiding participants through each step in a bond transaction. Topics are arranged chronologically, from the factors that lead an organization to decide to issue bonds to an organization’s post-issuance responsibilities. Disclosure, the credit rating process, and the bond pricing process will be addressed in detail. The session will also include best practices and resources helpful for you and your organization to navigate through the process, from policy development to the request for proposals (RFP) process and more. Panelists will provide the perspectives of a municipal bond issuer, a municipal advisor, an underwriter, and bond counsel, and offer the latest information about the state of the municipal bond market. The session is intended to be useful both to participants who have never closed a bond issuance on behalf of their organizations and to those wanting to update their knowledge in light of the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) increasing scrutiny of municipal bonds.


  • Debby Cherney, Chief Executive Officer, San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association
  • Tyler R. Old, Director, PFM Financial Advisors LLC
  • Cyrus Torabi, Shareholder, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Debby Cherney is the Chief Executive Officer of the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (SBCERA), a $9.9 billion pension plan serving nearly 40,000 employees of the County of San Bernardino and 15 other cities and special districts. Prior to joining SBCERA, Debby was the Deputy General Manager at the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD). In this capacity, Debby was responsible for all finance and administrative services, as well as active engagement on California water issues regarding infrastructure, ratepayer affordability, and addressing the issue of failing water systems throughout the state. She spent seven years as the Executive Director of Finance and Administrative Services at Irvine Ranch Water District in Irvine, and 15 years in management consulting, working with public agencies and private companies. She is on the Executive Board of Directors of the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. Debby is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the State of California. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.

Tyler Old is a Director in PFM’s Los Angeles office and leads the firm’s California water and wastewater municipal advisory practice. He has advised on a wide variety of financing and credit structures, including financing for water storage, conveyance, and conjunctive use projects, as well as reclamation and desalination projects. Tyler has completed over $20 billion of financings over the past 15 years as both a financial advisor and an investment banker, including general obligation and revenue bonds, notes, State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans, bank loans, and lines of credit, among other structures. Tyler has BA degrees in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and is a Registered Municipal Advisor.

Cyrus Torabi is a shareholder in the public law department of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth in Newport Beach. He has been with Stradling since 2008, and previously worked as a real estate transactional attorney with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Los Angeles, and Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP in San Diego. Cyrus graduated with high honors from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Cyrus has experience in all areas of public finance and has acted as bond counsel to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California since 2015, as bond counsel to Glenn County and the cities of Escondido, Farmersville, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Riverside, Rohnert Park, Salinas, Simi Valley, and Ukiah, among many others, as bond counsel to Eastern Municipal Water District, East Valley Water District, Montecito Sanitary District, Santa Margarita Water District, South Coast Water District, Valley County Water District, and Yorba Linda Water District, among many others, and as disclosure counsel to the cities of Pico Rivera, San Marcos, and Ventura, among many others. Cyrus is a frequent speaker at public finance conferences, including those sponsored by CDIAC, The Bond Buyer, and the National Business Institute.


Fundamentals of Municipal Revenues: Taxes

Session Type: Budget/Financial Planning
Includes materials and lunch
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

This pre-conference session will provide participants with a complete review of major municipal revenues. The session will focus primarily on property tax, and sales and use tax, but will also discuss other local option taxes, such as business license tax, utility users tax (UUT), transient occupancy tax (TOT), and property transfer tax. The session will begin with an overview and discussion of the fundamental concepts of taxes for California local agencies. Included will be a brief history of the state and local fiscal relationship, focusing on the various changes in property tax law since the passage of Proposition 13 and the legislative protections that have been gained over the years. This interactive session will also include exercises to help participants understand the complexities of analyzing sales and property taxes, and to gain skills in forecasting and monitoring these important revenues. Participants will receive a copy of the League of California Cities Revenue Handbook.

Speakers: Michael Coleman, Fiscal Policy Advisor, CSMFO and League of California Cities
Paula Cone, President, HdL Coren & Cone
Lloyd de Llamas, Executive Chairman, Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates

Michael Coleman is a leading expert on California local government revenues, spending, and financing. He is the creator of CaliforniaCityFinance.com, the California Local Government Finance Almanac, an online resource of data, analyses, and articles on California municipal finance and budgeting. He is the principal fiscal policy advisor both to the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) and, for over twenty years, to the League of California Cities. Michael is a popular presenter at graduate schools and conferences and is the author of numerous articles and references, including the California Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook, and – as co-author with Mike Multari, Ken Hampian, and Bill Statler – the Guide to Local Government Finance in California, published by Solano Press.

An experienced city fiscal officer, Michael previously worked for the cities of San Mateo, Milpitas, Daly City, and Sacramento. He received his BA in Policy Analysis from UC Davis and his MPA from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program. In February 2013, the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers honored Michael with its Distinguished Service Award for dedicated service and outstanding contribution to the municipal finance profession.

Paula Cone is the President of HdL Coren & Cone. After spending 24 years in municipal government in finance and city management, Paula completed the development of the first cost-effective and accurate program for identifying, monitoring, auditing, and correcting property tax misallocations. In addition, HdL Coren & Cone provides real estate trending information that has become integral to cities and special districts in understanding the impact of changes within their jurisdictions and that translation to revenues received. HdL Coren & Cone provides property tax management, audit, and analytical services to more than 200 cities and special districts in 43 counties in California. Paula oversees the day-to-day operations of the company’s property tax management and auditing division, which is also responsible for verifying and correcting jurisdictional and boundary errors, budget projections, and client interface. Paula earned her Bachelor’s degree from California State University at Long Beach. She is former Parks and Recreation Director and Assistant City Manager of the City of Lawndale.

Lloyd de Llamas has been involved in sales tax management since 1987 and developed much of the analytical and audit methodology used by all local governments to monitor and maximize sales and use tax revenues. He is also a co-founder of three affiliates: HdL Coren & Cone, Inc., HdL Software LLC, and HdL Properties LLC. Lloyd was California’s first Hispanic City Manager, previously serving as City Manager of Monterey Park, Lawndale, and Woodlake, and as Assistant City Manager in Torrance and San Diego. He is a past President of the San Gabriel Valley City Managers’ Association, was one of the founding Directors of the California Redevelopment Association, and served for over 20 years on the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization.

Lloyd currently serves on the Board of Directors of Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates, assists clients with special projects and issues, and works with a variety of city/county organizations on revenue and economic-related policy issues while also continuing as a co-owner of HdL Software LLC. He has a Business degree from San Diego State University and performed his post-graduate work in public administration through the Consortium of California State Colleges and Universities.