2021 CSMFO Annual Conference

Pre-conference Training

- Separate registration required.
Tue, 28 Jan 2020
9:15 am - 4:00 pm

Pre-conference Training

– Separate registration required.

Pre-Conference A | Pre-Conference B | Pre-Conference C | Pre-Conference D

PRE-CONFERENCE A: Oh No, Another Grant! Now What?

Session Type: Accounting/Financial Reporting Includes materials and lunch
9:15 am – 4:00 pm

Given the growing complexity of grant reporting and compliance, it is no wonder that many people have this reaction. “Free” money is wonderful – but we all know nothing is ever truly free. This session will cover the processes and best practices for grants/loans in the pre-award phase, as well as post-award administration and finance-related post-award support. Below are the topics that will be covered during the session:

  • External Funding Strategy
  • Pursuit of Funding Opportunities
  • Research Tools
  • Understanding the Type and Source of Funding
  • Application Process/Coordination
  • Building Agency Relationships
  • Post-Award during Pre-Award
  • Funding Agreement and Compliance Terms
  • Post-Award Compliance and Administration – Key Success Factors
  • What are Eligible and Allowable Costs?
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE); American, Iron & Steel (AIS); and Labor Compliance Requirements
  • Reimbursement Requests and Reporting
  • Grant Management, Finance, and Best Practices
  • Single Audit and Audit Best Practices
  • Records Retention

The list itself looks overwhelming, but seasoned pros with a remarkable track record for obtaining and administering grants for a local special district will lead you through the puzzle that can be the grants world. When you leave this session, you will have the tools and confidence you need to help your organization obtain and successfully administer a well- coordinated grants management program!


  • Wilma Garriz, Controller, Eastern Municipal Water District
  • Rania Odenbaugh, Engineering Project Control Manager, Eastern Municipal Water District
  • Bonnie Wright, Grants and Loans Manager, Eastern Municipal Water District
  • Ashley Zellmer, Water Resources Control Engineer, State Water Resources Control Board

Wilma Garriz joined the Eastern Municipal Water District as Controller in August 2015. She is responsible for managing the District’s accounting and financial reporting functions, including the preparation of its GFOA-award winning Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. Wilma brings to her role over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, having previously served as the Deputy Director of Finance at the City of Newark, Delaware. Prior to the City of Newark, Wilma worked in various capacities as Finance Director, Controller and Staff Auditor in the not-for-profit, private, and public accounting sectors. She holds Bachelor of Science Degrees in Secretarial Administration and Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and she is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Delaware. Wilma is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association, the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers.

Rania Odenbaugh is an Engineering Project Control Manager at Eastern Municipal Water District, where she is responsible for managing the District’s $300 million grants and loans post- award administration program, as well as a $500 million Capital Improvement Program. She has over 16 years of accounting and project management experience in the public and private sectors. Rania holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the American University in Cairo and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Project Management from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Bonnie Wright joined Eastern Municipal Water District in January 2008 and is currently the Grants and Loans Manager. She manages the pre-award effort that includes research, pursuit of funding for capital improvement projects and programs, and application coordination, and she holds a key role as liaison to all applicable funding agencies. In her tenure, she has secured more than $600 million for the District. Prior to coming to the District, she worked for a Member of Congress after being in the medical field for 26 years and an owner and operator of a full service optical business for 20 of those years. Bonnie has held many key positions on local and regional boards, serving on policy committees with the Southern California Council of Governments and the League of California Cities. Bonnie is currently serving as Chair of the Western Riverside Council of Governments. She was elected to the Hemet City Council in 2012 and re-elected in 2016, serving as Mayor in 2016/17 and 2018/19.

Ashley Zellmer is a Water Resources Control Engineer for the State Water Resources Control Board, where she is responsible for coordinating grants associated with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. She has over 10 years of project management experience in the public and private sectors. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, and she holds a Professional Engineer License in Civil Engineering.

PRE-CONFERENCE B: Building a Better Budget: Best Practices and Insightful Perspectives for the Budget Practitioner

Session Type: Budget and Financial Planning Includes materials and lunch
9:15 am – 4:00 pm

CSMFO’s new core course covering budget fundamentals provides both new budget analysts and seasoned senior managers with a comprehensive review of the budget process and related issues. In this pre-conference session, the first two of four modules of this new core course will be offered, covering “Foundations of Budget Management” in the morning and “Building the Budget” in the afternoon. Key concepts to be covered include types of budgets, the relationship between the accounting and budget functions, the importance of accurate forecasting and long- term financial planning, best practices for the budget process, personnel budgeting, and key concepts in non-personnel budget management. Attendees will leave this session with useful best practices, practical exercises and examples, and valuable perspectives from budget practitioners. Modules three and four – “Budget Documents and Reporting” and “Advanced Budget Concepts” – will be offered in alternating locations in northern and southern California in the upcoming year and then regularly in the future.


  • Ken Brown, Principal, HdL Companies
  • David Cain, Retired Finance Director, City of Fountain Valley

Ken Brown has been a Principal at HdL Companies for the last four years, providing California cities and counties with sales tax analysis, management support, and revenue forecasting services. Prior to that, Ken had over 18 years of public sector experience, most recently as the Director of Administrative Services for the City of Irvine. In that role, Ken was responsible for overseeing development of Irvine’s long-term Strategic Business Plan, where his experience in forecasting was included as a case study in the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) book, Informed Decision-Making through Forecasting: A Practitioner’s Guide. Prior to Irvine, Ken developed his budget expertise at a California transit district. Ken holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Humboldt. He has been active in municipal affairs at regional and state levels and served as Chair of the Professional Standards and Recognition Committee for the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers. He also served on a steering committee that refreshed the curriculum for GFOA’s national training program on long- term financial planning, a class he has helped teach several times. Ken is a proud father and in his free time he loves to spend time at Disneyland with his daughter Zoe. Ken is also a docent at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach.

David Cain has more than 45 years of professional managerial experience in both public and private sector finance. David is the retired Director of Finance/Treasurer for the City of Fountain Valley. He also teaches public budgeting and financial administration, public sector labor relations, public policy analysis, and human resource management at the university level, where he brings a practical approach to these fields. David has also served as an instructor for the Government Finance Officers Association Budget Academy. Prior to Fountain Valley, David served for eighteen months as Consultant/Director of Administrative Services for the City of San Bernardino, where he helped the City and Urban Futures, Inc., work through the City’s bankruptcy challenges. David also served as Director of Finance/Treasurer for Moulton Niguel Water District for three years and the City of Chino for eleven years; and as Assistant City

Manager for the City of Sierra Madre for five years. David has served both as a Board Member and as Committee Chair for the Budget and Administration Committees for the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers. He is currently the Senior Adviser for the Communications Committee and a member of the Annual Conference Host Committee. He has also been a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and the California Municipal Treasurers Association. David received his B.S. in Business Administration from Biola University and his Master of Public Administration from California State University, Northridge.

PRE-CONFERENCE C: Money Talks: The Art of Speaking About Government Finance!

Session Type: Leadership and Management Includes materials and lunch
9:15 am – 4:00 pm

The world of government finance is getting more complicated every day. Government finance officers are required to communicate with boards and citizens on a regular basis. This course will help refine those much-needed public speaking skills to help government professionals overcome their fears while exceling at communications. This course will add on to the skills provided in the 2019 pre-conference session titled, “The Art of Public Speaking for Finance Officers: Can You Hear Me Now?” True public speakers build on their skills to achieve an enhanced ability for speaking in front of audiences of many sizes. Whether you attended last year’s pre-conference session (NOT a pre-requisite for this session), or this year will be your first dive into the public speaking waters, attendees will gain real world experience on how to be effective communicators.


  • Phil Bertolini, Retired Deputy County Executive/CIO, 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). He recently retired after 31 years of public service. 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 6 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. He taught the 2019 CSMFO Pre-Conference session titled, “The Art of Public Speaking: Can You Hear Me Now?” 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 included in the 2019 50 Names to Know in Government (Crain’s Detroit Business), 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. 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.

PRE-CONFERENCE D: Doing the Right Thing When it is Hard: Living Your Ethics in Tough Situations

Session Type: Leadership and Management Includes materials
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Knowing the right thing to do is not that hard. Doing the right thing in the face of pressure to do the wrong thing – or at least look the other way – can be very hard. In fact, ethical tragedies are often the result of people who sit silently on the sidelines, afraid or uncertain of what to do about a transgression. In this session, you will work through real-life scenarios of ethical challenges that have occurred in governments. You will learn a distinctive new approach to deal with these situations, called “Giving Voice to Values,” which is focused on how to enact the values we already know. Think of it as a “self-defense class for your soul.”


  • Mary C. Gentile, PhD, Creator/Director, Giving Voice to Values

Mary C. Gentile, PhD, is Creator/Director of Giving Voice to Values, Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Senior Advisor at the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, and a consultant on management education and leadership development.
Among numerous other awards, Gentile was named as one of the “Top Minds 2017” by Compliance Week; one of the 2015 “100 Most Influential in Business Ethics” by Ethisphere; and one of the “Top Thought Leaders in Trust: 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners” by Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, January 2015. She was recently “short-listed” for the Thinkers50 2019 award for “Ideas Into Practice” (having also been short-listed in 2017). Giving Voice To Values also won the Bronze Medal in the 2017 Reimagine Education Ethical Leadership Awards.

Giving Voice to Values, a pioneering business curriculum for values-driven leadership, has been featured in the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and McKinsey Quarterly, to name a few, and piloted in over 1,125 business schools and organizations globally. The award-winning book is Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right (www.MaryGentile.com), with translations in Chinese, Korean, and forthcoming in Thai. Gentile has authored numerous books and articles and partnered with Nomadic.fm in 2014 to launch six online interactive social cohort-based modules around Giving Voice To Values (http://nomadic. fm/ProgDetailGivingVoiceToValues.html). A 4- week online course on Ethical Leadership through Giving Voice To Values has launched from Coursera/Darden in Fall 2017: https://www.coursera.org/learn/uva-darden-giving-voice-to- values.

From 1985 to 1995, Gentile was a faculty member and manager of case research at Harvard Business School (HBS) and one of the principal architects of HBS’s Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Responsibility curriculum. She co-authored Can Ethics Be Taught? Perspectives, Challenges, and Approaches at Harvard Business School and was content expert for the award- winning interactive CD-ROM, Managing Across Differences (HBS Publishing). Gentile earned her Bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and her MA and PhD degrees from State University of New York-Buffalo.