New Orleans assessor awarded for excellence in financial reporting
15th April 2014 · 0 Comments
By Mason Harrison
Orleans Parish assessor, Erroll Williams, has achieved a distinction few finance officials nationwide, and no parochial parish assessor in Louisiana, has secured to date—selection as a 2014 recipient for the Certificate of Achieve?ment for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Williams joins just 4,000 finance officials across the United States and Canada who have been honored by the award. State and local finance directors, comptrollers, tax assessors and others qualify for the distinction, created in 1945, upon meeting a set of best practices and going beyond the call of duty in managing public coffers and committing their offices to financial transparency.
“We require anyone receiving the certificate to really drill down in their financial reporting and to provide extensive details about their capacity for really accounting for spending and receipts,” says Stephen Gauthier, director of the Chicago-based government finance officers association. “We don’t have a winner or something like that,” Gauthier says, “no one is competing against anyone else. But we do have an 80-page checklist to assess the quality of someone’s work.”
Williams says while he is moved by the recognition, it is simply part and parcel of what he has long desired to bring to the assessor’s office. “When I was first elected assessor, I knew that it would take some time to get our financial house in order and we are now seeing the fruits of that. Our reports have gone from 20 pages, or so, in the past to more than 70 pages, in some cases.”
Williams has additional plans to make the property tax assessment process more transparent by developing a database with information for homeowners on the ins and outs of home values.
“The challenge now,” says Williams, “is to keep being recognized for good financial reporting, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. There are other fiscal agents who have been recognized in the state, including local school boards and others, but that’s just one component of what they do. I want to work to make this office the best it can be in all aspects of its operations.”
This article originally published in the April 14, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.