Municipal Finance Institute

December 14-15, 2023

San Diego Mission Bay Hotel

1775 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA

Thank you for joining the League of California Cities for the 2022 Municipal Finance Institute in Monterey!

Designed for city officials and staff involved in fiscal planning for municipalities, the Municipal Finance Institute connects finance directors and other municipal finance professionals with the essential information they need for their job.

The institute took place Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey, where 100 attendees from across the state explored current topics of importance and engaged in networking opportunities.

Save the date for the next seminar on Dec. 14-15, 2023 at the San Diego Mission Bay Hotel.

For questions, please contact event program manager, Katie Pebler.

Please see our event and meeting policies.

Institute Information

Explore Previous Institutes

2022 Institute Session Descriptions

View the 2022 Municipal Finance Institute Program.

Wednesday, December 7

Breakfast On Your Own

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Premium Sponsor Tables Open

8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Registration Open

8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Fiscal Officers President's Welcome

8:30-9:00 a.m.

2023 Playbook for Developments in Municipal Finance Law and Policy

9:00-10:15 a.m.

Leading experts will review the latest major developments for California city revenues. Learn about new laws, legal developments, risks, and opportunities that will affect your agency’s finances.

Tarik Rahmani, President, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department and Deputy City Manager, Carson

Michael Colantuono, Managing Shareholder, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC
Nick Romo, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities
Jessica Sankus, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities

Visit with Sponsors

10:15-10:45 a.m.

Visit with several vendors offering products and services to benefit you and your city. Coffee, tea, and water will be available.

Creative Budget Management Tips

10:45 a.m.-noon

For finance directors, having a smooth budget management strategy not only saves time and resources for your city, it saves you from the stress that can come with it. Hear from city finance directors and their creative strategies in managing a complex, multi-faceted city budget.

Roberta Raper, Department Director, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department, Finance Director, West Sacramento

Lauren Lai, Finance Director, Milpitas
Mike McCann, Principal, McCann Consulting

Networking Lunch

noon-1:15 p.m.

CalPERS Pension Update

1:15-2:30 p.m.

Hear from a panel of experts on the latest developments, decisions, and outlook regarding the state’s developments and the current pension climate.

Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director and CEO, League of California Cities

Marcie Frost, CEO, CalPERS
Lisa Middleton, Mayor, Palm Springs

Visit with Sponsors

2:30-2:45 p.m.

Visit with several vendors offering products and services to benefit you and your city. Coffee, tea, and water will be available.

Addressing Pension Liability Without POBs: City of Upland's BLAST Strategy

2:45-4:00 p.m.

Learn about the city of Upland and its innovative approach to addressing pension liability. First, receive an overview and background on pension liabilities, CalPERS policies, and Pension Obligation Bonds (POBs). Panelists will review why POBs were so compelling, what has changed, and what other options may be available now. Then, hear about a recent case in the city of Upland, where potential litigation derailed its plans to issue POBs. The team was required to pivot and determine new creative ways to address their Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL). It’s a story of persistence, heartbreak, innovation, and success, culminating in Upland 'BLASTing' away their UAL.


Ward Komers, Assistant Director of Finance, Temecula

Kim Byrens, Partner, Best Best & Krieger LLP
Julio Morales, Senior Managing Director, Kosmont Financial Services
Stephen Parker, Assistant City Manager, Upland

Visit with Sponsors

4:00-4:15 p.m.

Visit with several vendors offering products and services to benefit you and your city. Coffee, tea, and water will be available.

Vital Information When Considering a Transaction and Use Tax (TUT)

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Agencies wrestling with balancing annual budgets may find a reduction in expenditures to be temporary and one-sided, especially post-pandemic. There are now more than 400 TUT's in place statewide, some designated for specific purposes, while others are available for general use. This session will provide examples of the timelines, workflow, and approaches taken by successful agencies to pass and implement a TUT.

Karin Schnaider, Past President, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department and Assistant City Manager, Tracy

Susie Woodstock, Principal, HdL Companies
Bobby Young, Director of Client Services, HdL Companies

Cal Cities Sales Tax Working Group Update

5:15-5:30 p.m.

Receive an overview and update on the Cal Cities Sales Tax Working Group.

Roberta Raper, Department Director, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department, Finance Director, West Sacramento
Karin Schnaider, Past President, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department and Assistant City Manager, Tracy

Joint Networking Reception

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Make new friends and catch up with old ones while enjoying delicious appetizers and tasty beverages during the evening networking reception. This joint reception is open to attendees from all three Cal Cities conferences: the Fire Chiefs Leadership Seminar, Municipal Finance Institute, and City Clerks New Law and Elections Seminar. It's the perfect opportunity to form support networks inside and outside your profession.

Thursday December 8

Registration Open

8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Networking Breakfast

8:00-9:00 a.m.

California State and Local Economic Update

9:00-10:15 a.m.

The forces affecting our economy and finances are many: interest rates, inflation, home prices, war in Europe, state tax refunds, the American Recovery Plan Act, Inflation Reduction Act, remote work, climate change, and a travel industry in recovery. This panel of leading experts will analyze economic and financial trends as they discuss the year ahead for California cities. The group will identify important emerging trends in the economy and the linkages with municipal revenues, services, and costs.

Michael Coleman,

Ted Egan, Chief Economist, City and County of San Francisco
Somjita Mitra, Chief Economist, California Department of Finance
Tracy Vesely, Principal, HdL Companies


10:15-10:45 a.m.

Use this time to grab luggage and take a break before information packed sessions and closing lunch.

Case Study: Public-Private Cybersecurity Partnerships are the New Normal

10:45 a.m.-noon

The public sector is one of the top targets for cybercriminals. They know that encrypting one small system can easily disable an entire community. We have all heard tragic stories of confidential information being stolen and made public, money seized, and data compromised. Learn the steps from two cities who have taken action against cyberattacks, and how doing so made their communities safer, more secure, and stable. Finally, understand how you can overcome common roadblocks that can complicate the path to success with cybersecurity and technology, including funding and partnerships.

Scott Pettingell, Second Vice President, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department and Assistant Finance Director, Roseville

Marc Coopwood, Assistant Chief of Police (ret.), Vice President, Public Sector, Apex Technology Management
Manuel Orozco, Finance Director, Willits
Jay Varney, County Administrative Officer, County of Madera

Closing Luncheon and Peer Advice Panel: How to Thrive as a City Finance Director

noon-1:30 p.m.

A panel of California finance directors will share their thoughts, strategies, and recent experiences, the widespread challenges that surfaced, and what they learned. Find opportunities for collective learning during the session.

Dennis Kauffman, Past President, Cal Cities Fiscal Officers Department and ACM/CFO, Roseville

Julia Cooper, Director of Finance, San José
Brigitte Elke, Finance Director, San Luis Obispo
George Harris, Director of Finance/IT, Lancaster


1:30 p.m.


2022 Institute Session Materials


Previous Institute Session Materials

2020 Session Materials
2019 Session Materials

    Thank You Sponsors

    Call for Proposals

    Cal Cities is seeking thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposals that tell how your session can help elected city officials improve their communities, leadership abilities, and knowledge within their roles. Submissions from any individual, group, business, or organization on any topic are welcome. The call for proposals for the 2023 Municipal Finance Institute is open now through July 21.

    We encourage you to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to share your ideas, knowledge, and expertise with this important audience! For questions, please contact Katie Pebler.

    General Information

    Who Can Submit

    Submissions, from any individual, group, business or organization, are welcome. Please remember that all sessions require a well-conceived presentation, good visuals, and a great deal of rehearsal!

    How It Works

    Only proposals submitted online through the proposal form will be considered. As there is a limit to the amount of words allowed within the title and description of each proposal, it may be helpful to draft the proposal in a word-processing program first, then paste the final version into the online form.

    Target Audience

    This educational event is designed to keep finance directors up-to-date on issues of importance to them and their cities.


    All About Proposals
    Securing a spot on the program is highly competitive, with approximately 25 percent of proposals being accepted. You can increase your chances by preparing a thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposal that tells how your session would help city leaders and those who work within city governments to improve their careers and communities. When preparing your proposal consider the following elements:

    • Is the topic new and/or critical for city government?
    • Will it draw a wide audience?
    • Does the panel reflect the diversity of California cities (north/south, large/small, urban/rural)?
    • Is the panel gender balanced and demographically diverse?
    • Will the session appeal to an audience with various political affiliations?
    • Will this issue stimulate action and further important discussion?
    • How does the proposed session impact education and/or advocacy for city leaders?
    • Is the topic geared towards the average finance director?
    • Do you have at least 5 important takeaways?

    Tips for Successful Proposals

    • Think big
    • Vary the viewpoint
    • Pare down the panel
    • Speaker skills matter
    • Plan for a crowd
    • Try something new
    • Interact with the audience
    • Fill in the blanks
    • Quality counts

    Types of Proposals

    More than 95 percent of each year's conference programming comes directly from the open call for proposals. Sessions may be scheduled as a general session or concurrent session at Cal Cities' discretion. Select one of the available formats listed below that best fits your topic and desired outcomes or propose an alternative session format.

    • Keynote Speaker 
      Keynote speakers are high-profile and designed to bring everyone together for a general session / and may set the tone of the event. This format permits approximately 45-60 minutes of an engaging presentation by a single speaker. Depending on time restrictions, the presentation may be followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers with the audience or a moderator. 
    • Panel Discussion
      Panels consist of a moderator and a maximum of three speakers who participate in a 60 minute engaging presentation and discussion followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers.
    • Speed Sessions
      Fifteen minute bursts of information on one topic by one speaker followed by five minutes of questions & answers. Typically, these engaging presentations are based on focused projects or personal experience.
    • Facilitated Group Discussion
      A 75 minute interactive conversation on a topic led by a single facilitator. You may include a maximum 15 minute presentation on which the issue/concern is framed and, then, guide a discussion among the attendees with prepared questions. At the conclusion of the discussion, the facilitator must spend time summarizing key findings, suggestions, and points. 
    • Alternative Format
      Be creative! If your session does not fit one of the above formats, this is your opportunity to propose something different. Please be sure to provide the time, room setup, and other important details. Alternative formats will be accommodated based on interest level, space, and set-up availability.


    Requirements, Review, and Policies

    Submission Requirements and Review

    Submissions will be reviewed by a program planning committee.
    Cal Cities reserves the right to modify accepted proposal session titles, descriptions, presenters or other elements as necessary to insure balance, quality and enhance marketability. If an originally accepted speaker cancels, the session may be disqualified. Additional speakers not included in the original proposal are not permitted to be added without review and approval.

    Successful Proposal Considerations

    The following criteria may be considered during the review of submissions:

    • Relevance - What are the practical applications of your ideas? Have you included reasoning and documentation to support your conclusions, recommendations and outcomes? Conference attendees prefer presentations focused on outcomes or results. Make the definition and background portions of your presentation brief. Highlight problems encountered, options available, choices made, documented pre- and post-change effects and lessons learned.
    • Content expands attendees' knowledge - Will your presentation expand knowledge beyond entry-level basics? Most conference participants are elected officials, appointed officials, and seasoned professionals. In general, direct your presentation to an intermediate or advanced audience.
    • Originality - Does your presentation advance existing ideas or present new ideas? Has this material been presented elsewhere? You might apply proven techniques to new problems or identify and apply new approaches, techniques or philosophies. Assess the degree to which an application is a new tool. Avoid highlighting a named product or service…focus instead on the general attributes, benefits and drawbacks of a given application, process or tool.
    • Examples - Do you have an appropriate number of examples? Documenting comparative results convinces participants that your ideas have been tested in the real world.
    • Timeliness - Will your presentation still be up-to-date and cutting-edge in six to nine months when the conference occurs? Will your topic have implications in the future? How relevant is your topic in the context of pending legislation, regulations and technology?
    • Inclusion of good, solid insights - What attendees want to learn is the reality versus the hype, the positive and negative attributes, problems encountered but not often discussed, realistic expectations for the operational use and adaptability to a changing environment. They are searching for guidelines and models to simplify or manage their own application or installation.
    • Logical conclusions - Are your conclusions supported by data? Attendees place a high value on supporting data in assessing the value and applicability of presentations. Include adequate and convincing details.
    • Identification of outside resources - Have you included sources of information, benchmark data or other examples?
    • Avoidance of product/vendor commercial - No commercials and/or proprietary information for particular products, services or vendors are permitted.
    • Completeness of proposal - The quality, completeness and accuracy of the proposal will be considered during the session selection process.
    • Preferred Speaker Qualifications - Panelists should reflect the diversity of California with a north/south, large/small, urban/rural representation when possible.
      • Five or more (5+) years of public presentation experience.
      • Two or more (2+) years of experience related to working in or presenting on the topic or idea.
      • More than two (2) successful speaking engagements to large audiences at a regional or state level in the past two years.
      • Must not pose a conflict of interest with subject/business area or must disclose such information in each speaker bio submitted.
      • No commercialism.

    To ensure a variety of perspectives, Cal Cities policy limits the number of times an individual, group, business or organization can speak at a single conference. In addition, each panel should have no more than one panelist per city/county, firm, company or organization (exceptions may apply).

    • Overall - In the end, you must make your case for the importance of this topic and its relevance to participants.

    Registration and Speaker Policy

    The League of California Cities is unable to provide full complimentary registration or any reimbursement of expenses, travel, or other compensation. We recognize and deeply appreciate your interest and commitment. The success of our program depends on the efforts of practicing professionals willing to volunteer their time for professional education.

    Privacy Policy

    We value your privacy and will never share any of your personal information nor sell your e-mail address to an outside party.