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Redmond, Washington, Assesses Its Financial Management Capabilities

The City of Redmond, Washington, shared its experience with the CIPFA-GFOA FM Model, the GFOA’s new, easy-to-use financial management tool, and the GFOA’s June 2012 annual conference. Mike Bailey, Redmond finance director, said the model provided Redmond with objective, comprehensive assessment of customer-based areas such as customer councils, budgeting by priorities, performance measures, customer service, and program audits.

The model helps jurisdictions determine what improvements are needed by helping them first define their “ideal,” and then determine where the organization stands in relationship to it – and where the gaps are. Organizations get the data they need to take the necessary steps toward the improvements they want to make. The program helps governments look past preconceived opinions, in part by engaging stakeholders and involving customers in the improvement effort.

The City of Redmond has deployed the FM Model on two levels, so far. It started with an internal look at the finance department, assessing internal norms, beliefs, and opinions. It then focused on the city management team, confirming or challenging the finance department’s assessment of department directors and senior managers, also looking at the customer’s perspective.

Finance department officials thought the city had a very good finance function, and the FM Model showed this to be the case; but it also helped identify some gaps. Redmond has looked at these areas in relation to the city’s organizational vision, goals, and culture to prioritize its next steps. Officials have aligned what they’ve learned from the FM Model with the city’s internal “process improvement” efforts, especially in areas where gaps have been identified by customers.

Next, Redmond intends to extend its use of the FM Model, on limited basis, to policymakers. The city expects to have a continued, active dialog about how it can make improvements, and the GFOA’s financial management self-assessment model is helping officials meet the city’s goal of transformational leadership, as demanded by the community and the continued economic situation.