Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Finance Department and the Southlake Standard: How Investing in Quality Service Yields Quality Results

The City takes pride in building teams that execute greatness for Southlake citizens, and the Finance Department recently proved that buying stock in quality employees results in a high return on investment.

Earlier this year, the Southlake Finance Department received the Certificate of Distinction from the Government Treasurers’ Organization of Texas (GTOT) for the City’s high-quality and fiscally responsible investment policy. Southlake is proud to be a part of the 20 municipalities and special districts that have received this distinction for the 2023 award year, a testament to the quality and responsibility with which the money is being managed.

To win this award, the department drafted a policy that outlines how public funds are managed within the City. With a clear emphasis on ethics, documenting requirements, adherence to the Texas Public Funds Investment Act (PFIA), and much more, the policy ensures Southlake funds are handled with the utmost care and attention to detail.

“In order to receive this award, our policy has to meet both the PFIA and the GTOT’s review criteria,” Nick Cornelius, Finance Management Assistant said. “We do this because we know that sound financial stewardship is of the utmost importance, and this is a great way to demonstrate that for our citizens.”

However, the Finance Department’s responsibilities extend far past drafting award-winning policies. From internal auditing and treasury management to purchasing and reporting, the department’s reach stretches over the entire City and impacts every citizen.

“While most of what we do is “behind the scenes,” our team works hard to ensure that we are being accountable, transparent, and good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” Cornelius added. “Everyone on the team is committed to going above and beyond for our citizens.”

And receiving the Certificate of Distinction is just one way that Southlake achieves that. From paying for most major projects in cash rather than taking on massive amounts of debt, to earning a Triple A Bond rating that indicates the highest level of creditworthiness when loans are necessary, the high quality of the Southlake Standard looks a little different than most other municipal governments.

This excellence begins with equipping a team of hard-working professionals who understand the level of importance that comes with managing the financial interests of the City. The CFO and two Deputy Directors of the department have a combined 50+ years of municipal government experience, with the majority directly with the City of Southlake. Additionally, over 60% of the Finance staff have served 15 years or more with the City. Citizens can rest assured that their money is in vastly experienced and capable hands – down to every last penny.

“The team is extremely forward-thinking, and the Finance Department really works like glue, keeping all components of the city functioning properly,” Nicole Bradshaw, Deputy Director of Finance explained. “The density of highly skilled and talented individuals really sets the Southlake Finance Department apart.”

The Finance Department is a shining example of how assets don’t always have to be in reference to monetary value. Sometimes, an asset is a team – and the Finance Department’s integral part in serving the citizens of Southlake shows that investing in high-quality employees yields high-quality results.