A National Win for Michigan’s ‘Fiscally Ready Communities’ Program
Michigan Department of Treasury’s Fiscally Ready Communities (FRC) training program is the national winner of the “Excellence in Community Development Programming Team Award”. The award will be presented in June at the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals conference in Indianapolis.
“This is an excellent recognition of the benefits of ‘best practice’ training in helping raise the financial and educational fluency of our local units of government,” commented Rod Taylor, administrator for Treasury’s Community Engagement and Finance Division (CEFD).
The Fiscally Ready Communities program was created by the CEFD as an extension of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program. While the Redevelopment Ready Communities program helped a community construct a strong foundation for economic development, local government units also required a strong educational foundation around finance, accounting, and operational best practices.
Partnering with Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension), Michigan Department of Treasury created FRC learning opportunities to prepare local units for capital asset management, internal controls, and budgeting for fiscal sustainability.
The first state-wide FRC programming was offered in 2019 and conducted in-person. When COVID-19 emerged, the FRC program shifted to webinar format which allowed stakeholders across Michigan to participate and learn together.
A typical FRC webinar is 90 minutes, with half of it presented by MSU Extension and half presented by Treasury staff. Webinars are scheduled at different times and on different days of the week to accommodate busy participants. These online learning events are focused on assisting small and medium-sized communities, where officials and staff wear many hats.
In addition to training webinars, a Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practice Guide was created for communities who want to establish, measure, and maintain policies to increase operational and financial effectiveness and safeguards.
The collaboration between a Community Services Division manager; a senior auditor, and a CEFD analyst; along with MSU Extension’s knowledgeable educators, has created an award-winning training program, offering something for everyone in local government. There are overarching principles and concepts for managers, practical tips on communication for boards and councils, examples of policies for clerks, and detailed information for specific account numbers and internal control.
Congratulations to our MSU Extension partners, Eric Walcott, Tyler Augst, and John Amrhein and to Treasury employees, Eric Cline, Roxanne Foster, and Jerry Nelson (previous Treasury contributors were Kayla Rosen and Stacie Stonebrook). The “Excellence in Community Development Programming Team Award” represents an enormous amount of teamwork and experience focused on assisting local government and the citizens of our Michigan communities. ~
Article by Senior Auditor Roxanne Foster, Community Engagement and Finance Division.