City earns 22nd award for financial reporting

Published 2:10 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

The awards keep piling up.

For the 22nd year in a row, the City of Washington will be displaying a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting at City Hall.

The award, announced earlier this month, is bestowed by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. It is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The award is for fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, 2017.

“The achievement of this prestigious award demonstrates the quality of our finance staff over time and the excellent reporting of the City’s financial performance and condition amidst ever increasing reporting requirements. The City Council and the rest of the city staff team are to be commended also for their support in this achievement,” wrote Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer and assistant city manager, in an email.

The 22-year streak started under Carol Williams, a former chief financial officer for the city. Rauschenbach and his staff continue the streak. Rauschenbach and Williams have credited the city’s finance staff for doing most of the work that has led to 22 consecutive awards.

Washington is one of 87 municipalities in North Carolina to receive the award this year. The city is one of 323 municipalities with populations of less than 10,000 people to receive the award. There are 31,656 municipalities that could be eligible for a CAFR award, meaning Washington is in the 1.02 percent of those 31,656 municipalities to receive awards this year.

Of North Carolina’s 553 municipalities, 87 (15.73 percent) of them received CAFR awards. Nationally, 2,039 out of 35,878 municipalities (5.68 percent) earned CAFR awards.

The CAFR program was initiated in 1945 to encourage and assist local and state governments to go beyond the minimum accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and recognized governments that succeed in meeting that goal. To be awarded a CAFR, a government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual financial report. Earning the award is not as simple as applying for it. CAFR recipients must meet specific, stringent standards established by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada.

The goal of the program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves, according to the GFAO website.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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