The Finance Department: more than just dollars and cents

DOWNEY - There are many tasks handled by the City of Downey's Finance Department, but not all of them involve handling money. To ensure that those tasks are handled efficiently and effectively, they can be classified into four major divisions: Information Technology, Accounting, Purchasing and Administration.The priority of each division is to manage the fiscal matters of the City, Community Development Commission, the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA) and the Cemetery District as well as meet the needs of the citizenry, management and employees. Information Technology is an on-site group of technology based professionals who provide centralized data processing, network infrastructure, cabling, system installations, firewall data protection and many more duties to the benefit of all users. Those users include individuals located in City Hall, the Library and Theatre, the Columbia Memorial Space Center, the Public Works yard and several other off-site locations. The main goal of these efforts is to allow for work to be performed and data to be transferred in a safe and secure cyber environment. The Accounting division, as the name implies, is responsible for processing and recording the City's financial transactions. Additionally, this division is responsible for the day-to-day handling of business registrations, animal licensing, water customer service and billings, city operated ambulance billing and collections, asset management, payroll, accounts payable, various grants and the completion and filing of several required regulatory annual reports. The City's and Commission's annual budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) are also prepared by this division. Since 2002-03, the CAFR has been nationally recognized for its excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. In order to obtain this award, the CAFR must be published in an easily, readable and efficiently organized manner and satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements. Annually, the City is subjected to seven different audits. A current copy of the budget and CAFR can be obtained at The Purchasing Division serves as a support function to the City, taken as a whole, in meeting its overall mission. The primary goal of the division is to provide timely and accurate procurement services to requesting departments while ensuring the purchasing functions are performed in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and the City's purchasing policy. Quite often, this division is able to acquire goods and services by competitively bidding them out. This process assures that the City will receive the best available goods or service at the best price possible. The Administrative Division is responsible for handling all other duties that fall under the oversight of the Finance Department. Some of those duties include risk management, investing, insurance coverage, civil claims and litigation along with the production of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program for employees. The Director of Finance services as the Risk Manager as well as the Treasurer of the Independent Cities Risk Management Authority (ICRMA). The City of Downey is one of the five original cities which created ICRMA in order to combine purchasing power and obtain insurance coverage at a time when insurance was too costly to buy individually. As you can imagine, although the Finance Department's main purpose is to record and track the multitude of financial transactions for the City, the Department also exists to service the informational needs of anything that goes beyond just dollars and cents. Article contributed by the City of Downey Finance Department.

********** Published: September 22, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 23