Lessons Learned

By Steve Heide, 2020 CSMFO President

Steve Heide, 2020 CSMFO President

First of all, let me say how humbled and honored I am to serve as your 2020 CSMFO President.  My heartfelt thanks to 2019 President Joan Michaels Aguilar for showing me the way, and to the rest of our CSMFO leadership team for their support.

As we settle back into our day jobs after an exhilarating CSMFO 2020 Annual Conference at the Disneyland Hotel late last month, I wanted to share a personal story with you.

I learned the value of saving as a young child.  My parents opened a passbook savings account for me at our local savings and loan, about the time I started school.  I recall my pride and joy when I’d make a small deposit at the teller’s window and my passbook would be updated with the new grand total of my life savings, including the few cents in interest earned on my account.

When I was old enough to start earning a little money on my own, my savings were bolstered by funds earned from doing yardwork in the neighborhood and odd jobs here and there for family friends.  For those of you old enough to relate, I also generated a bit of childhood income by selling flower seeds door-to-door through the American Seed Company, as marketed to me and my boyhood friends in the fine print at the back of comic books.

Growing up in southern California, I lived a relatively short drive from The Happiest Place on Earth.  This was long before Disney California Adventure, and I have many fond memories of spending warm summer days at Disneyland in my youth.  I recall usually leaving at or near park closing time with my family, feeling exhausted but satisfied after a long day of memory making.

My passion for saving and my love of Disneyland converged one day when I decided that I’d part with some of my hard earned reserves during a visit to the park when I was probably seven or eight years old.  At the time I could have chosen a fun souvenir like a classic Mouse ears hat or maybe a character autograph book, or even one of those giant swirly Disney lollipops, but instead, like any good future finance officer, after much deliberation I opted for… a Disneyland money clip.

And I’m pleased to say that I’ve kept that wonderful memory of days gone by for all these years and its sentimental value to me is priceless.  It’s also a powerful reminder for me that as municipal finance officers, we have the awesome and humbling responsibility of ensuring that each of our local government’s proverbial money clips are sufficiently filled so that our agencies can carry out their important public service missions each and every day.

So as the dust settles on our 2020 conference and you’re reflecting on how to use new found knowledge and how to leverage new connections made at the conference for the benefit of your local communities, please be mindful of your important responsibility to ensure that your government’s money clips are sufficiently filled to meet the needs of those you serve.

Steve Heide is the Finance Director, Chino Valley Fire District, Chino Hills, California.

Over 30 years of professional finance experience, having worked in government and private industry in a variety of finance positions with progressive levels of responsibility. Previous positions in public accounting, healthcare and non-profit/government.