City finance department recognized for excellence

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For at least the 25th straight year — no one is exactly sure how long it's been — the City of Cartersville's finance department has made the All-Star team in financial reporting.

In July, the Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, released its list of winners of the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting  and there was Cartersville tucked in with the other "Cs."

The Association's press release went on to say "the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of financial and governmental reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management."

The Finance office is located on the third floor of the city hall annex.

If the old saying that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind is true, then finance director Tom Rhinehart must be a genius.

His desk is literally running over with paper —  memos, budgets, proposals and contracts — yet he seems to know exactly the purpose of every item on the desk. 

Rhinehart and his staff of four are responsible for all financial operations of the city. According to the department's mission statement, the finance department's goal is to build and reinforce confidence in city financial management by managing and planning all financial functions in an efficient, cost-effective and responsible manner."

Earning the certificate isn't easy.

"There is a process where you submit your annual financial report to the GFOA," Rhinehart said. "And it is carefully reviewed by three judges who read every page and every word of it."

And every year, it seems there are more changes in the rules. 

"Some are more difficult than others," Rhinehart said. "The Government Accounting Standards Board seems to be changing new pronouncements on a yearly basis. Some have been easier to meet than others." 

City Manager Tamara Brock says the recognition is a boon to the city.

"Overall, it helps with our bond ratings," she said. "People in the financial industry see this and it helps boost the city to a higher rating. 

"This award is a testament to Tom and his staff for their work and character. They are always putting in extra hours to get it done. It's not only managing the day-to-day but also the extra that keeps us at the top of our game when it comes to financial reporting."