Expertise Beyond the Numbers

Current Risk Management Trends Impacting Local Government Finance Leaders in Virginia

Local government finance professionals in Virginia are often impacted by ever-changing dynamics related to legislation passed at the Federal and State level. Localities may not have direct influence over new and modified laws – such as changes to the Affordable Care Act and the Virginia Retirement System – that will impact their ability to operate effectively.

The Virginia Government Finance Officers’ Association (VGFOA) Spring Conference held earlier this year in Virginia Beach, VA provided terrific opportunities for finance personnel to learn how to effectively navigate financial and regulatory changes that will substantially impact their current and near-term operating environments.

The VGFOA is an organization consisting of local finance professionals throughout the state focused on the operational support of the member jurisdictions. VGFOA’s mission is to be the premier organization in developing governmental and financial leaders in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Holding true to its mission, the Spring 2017 Conference offered members the education and insights necessary to better prepare for and respond to professional challenges while also positioning their localities for future success. Even though some time has passed since the conference, SC&H Group’s Risk Management professionals believe these topics will continue to impact local leaders in the second half of 2017 and beyond.

Educational sessions were held over the course of three days covering a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Healthcare: There were discussions surrounding how parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could potentially be repealed and replaced, and how these changes could affect government employers.
  • Benefits: A separate session focused on the Virginia Line of Duty Act (LODA), and the effect to employers and survivors, as well as procedural changes impacting the Virginia Retirement System.
  • Emergency Management: Another session led by the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Norfolk covered steps being taken to reduce frequent flooding, with the goal of improving living conditions for residents.
  • Staffing: A panel featuring retired county administrators shared stories based on their personal experiences related to budgeting, mentoring, and leadership.

One of the most popular sessions took a deeper dive into staffing and leadership/performance topics by reviewing best practices for managing and interacting with individuals in an organization. This keynote session, “The 10-80-10 Principle”, was presented by Sunjay Nath, who is a founding VP of an eLearning company based out of Toronto.

Attendees learned how to better meet the goals of a department or organization by identifying the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent, and the swayable 80 percent. The idea behind this is the top 10 percent are those individuals who are eager to accomplish tasks without much coaching and persuading.  This group can assist organizations by reaching out to the swayable 80 percent (those who may feel indifferent to accomplishing the task at hand) and evangelizing organizational benefits and goals.

The 10-80-10 approach is similar to the top-down risk approach that our Risk Management team uses for many clients. Often, a direction or approach to minimize risk is mandated by the leadership team, and it is up to management to determine who will be the champion of implementing this new direction.

If management does not appropriately identify the right personnel (the top 10 percent) to help introduce change, the implementation process may lack efficiency of completion or effectiveness in minimizing risk.  This may affect others in the organization (the swayable 80 percent), and be met with resistance by those who don’t comply with the new direction (bottom 10 percent) without additional encouragement or penalties.

This approach is important to consider in relation to current risk trends and themes discussed throughout the conference as finance teams look to successfully navigate change, increase effectiveness, and optimize performance.

SC&H Group’s Risk Management team helps agencies in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic successfully adapt to change while maximizing efficiencies and remaining compliant. Contact us today to learn more about how these trends could impact your agency, and how we can assist you in meeting organizational goals.