Express News Staff
Town of Webb Supervisor Theodore Riehle has had a busy few months since taking over as supervisor in January. He’s been working on getting settled into the job, and has been learning a lot while doing so. A lot of what he’s been learning comes from training sessions he’s been attending.
The training, designed specifically for local government officials, is offered through the Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC) and the Association of Towns of the State of New York.
When he first became supervisor, Riehle took a course through AOTSNY for newly elected officials to get the ball rolling. Last month, he attended six days of training in governmental accounting through OSC. This past week, he attended the Annual Town Finance School that is co-sponsored by both organizations.
These training programs are a great resource for members of local government and are typically attended by town supervisors, bookkeepers, department heads, clerks, etc. Ann Croneiser, Secretary to the Supervisor, attended the training as well. “It was good for us to go together, to bounce ideas off each other. As they were discussing things, we could both make notes to see how different ideas were applicable to our situation,” said Riehle.
In governmental accounting and financial reporting, there are laws and regulations that must be followed throughout the process, including a specific set of codes established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board that is used by all municipalities. They also learned about topics like preparing a budget, long term financial planning, cash management, asset management, purchasing, processing claims, and the property tax cap.
Riehle got more out of his training than just what was taught in the classes. He says not only are these classes a chance to learn about handling the town’s finances, it’s a great opportunity to network with other municipal leaders. One of his training courses in April was held in Syracuse, giving him the chance to meet people from our district that he has already dealt with over the phone.
“It’s nice to put a name with a face,” he said.
Riehle says this has been is a great learning experience, and has helped him learn more about some things he’d already had on his mind.
“This training is critical. Some of the ideas that I had when I was running for office about long term planning, creating reserve funds, equipment replacement schedules, those are a lot of the topics that he comptroller’s office is focusing on now and encouraging towns to do,” he said.
One of the most valuable parts of the training is learning about the resources available to help municipalities in their day-to-day management. Riehle says one of the biggest thing that he got out of it was having the one-on-one time with the representatives from our district office and establishing that relationship, and just being able to ask questions.
“They encourage towns to call them, they’re available for technical assistance. That’s probably the most important thing, because there are so many things involved in the whole process. If you’d never attended training like this and known that these resources were available, I think you’d really be hindered in your job,” he said.
One of Riehle’s keys to success is accepting that helping hand when it’s extended to you.
“I took the same approach in my last job, I reached out to my available resources. For years we did a trouble shooting course up here through the state. I’ve got to give some credit to them for some of my successes,” he said. “That’s the most important thing—our willingness to reach out and use available resources. The good thing is that they’re available.”