Who Knew?

By Steve Heide, 2020 CSMFO President

I hope that you and your loved ones are well.

On Thursday, May 14, CSMFO held an after-hours COVID-19 Solidarity Happy Hour. The casual virtual get together was open to all members and roughly 30 participants swapped social distancing stories while sharing some laughs and virtual bonding time. In short, CSMFO members came together while staying apart.

For me, as I write this, it’s been about seven weeks since my district’s administrative headquarters went to a largely remote working environment. Some at the virtual happy hour had been socially distancing longer than I had, some for a shorter period of time, and still others had largely been going into the office as designated disaster service workers on a fairly regular, business-as-usual basis. Obviously one size does not fit all, but who knew in mid-March that our part of the world would look so different two short months later? I certainly didn’t.

As with our work organizations and in our personal lives, at CSMFO we’re adapting, we’re adjusting, and we’re figuring out how to move forward in our current environment. To that end, I hope you’re finding our CSMFO Webinar Series: “Strategies for Managing Financial Implications Resulting from COVID-19,” to be insightful and timely. Part 4 – Resetting Your Agency’s Budget and Long-Term Planning, takes place on May 21 from 10:00 to 11:30 am, PDT. Advance registration is required for this free webinar. My thanks to our Career Development Committee, led by chair Laura Nomura from the Eastern Municipal Water District, for stewarding our fantastic webinar program.

As you are likely aware, CSMFO announced late last month that our Board of Directors has opted to extend our in-person meetings moratorium until at least July 6. We continue to closely monitor public health developments in California with a watchful eye toward the implications for in-person meetings calendared later this year such as our annual Weekend Training program and our annual leadership Strategic Planning session, which are tentatively scheduled to take place in September and October, respectively.

Additionally, President-Elect Marcus Pimentel from the Santa Cruz County Health Department and his 2021 Annual Conference Host Committee are challenged with planning our February 2021 Annual Conference in San Jose in the midst of these uncertain times. More details to follow as we at CSMFO figure out a path forward to member meetings and our continuing education programs in the near term and beyond.

On a related note, I’d also like to thank Past President Margaret Moggia from the West Basin Municipal Water District for her leadership efforts in working with our chapter chairs as our chapters consider virtual member meetings in the coming months. Congratulations to Margaret as well for her just announced election to an At-Large Executive Board member seat with the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Margaret will serve a three year term on the GFOA Executive Board.

What lies ahead of us in the weeks and months to come from both a public health and economic standpoint is entirely unclear. As I close for now, at the risk of being repetitive, as I said in my message last month, now more than ever, we need each other and I encourage you to rely on your fellow CSMFO friends and colleagues for advice, perspective and comradery.

Rest assured that your CSMFO Board of Directors and leadership team are working diligently for the benefit of our members during this difficult time. Together, we will get through this.

On a final note…

During this safer-at-home time, like many of you, I’ve taken a more active interest in cooking and baking. I tend to me more a recipe mash-up kind of cook, taking bits and pieces from various recipes to make my own creation. Of late, I’ve have been intrigued with homemade pizza. Nothing fancy, and I wish I had a pizza oven, but I don’t.

  1. Using prepared pizza dough from your local grocery store, follow the package directions for rolling out your pizza pie. If you’re ambitious, feel free to make your own scratch dough, but I’ve found the pizza dough from Trader Joes to be economical, convenient and very tasty;
  2. Transfer the rolled out dough to parchment paper lightly dusted with flour to prevent sticking, and then transfer the parchment paper with dough onto a baking sheet;
  3. Next, on a preheated grill over medium heat, using tongs while wearing heat safe oven mitts or bbq gloves, and either a paper towel or clean rag, apply vegetable oil to the grill grates prior to baking dough for about two minutes on each side, until it has nice grill marks. Exercise caution for flare-ups when applying the oil to the grill, so don’t apply too liberally. A long set of bbq tongs is ideal;
  4. It can be a bit tricky to transfer the uncooked dough from the baking sheet to the hot bbq. Again, wearing your heat safe mitts or gloves, gently transfer the dough from the parchment paper to the grill, back to front as you slide the pie off of the paper, pulling the parchment paper toward you as you slide the dough onto the grill;
  5. As the warmed dough begins to puff up on the grill, it’s time to flip your pie. Of course, you can always flip the dough multiple times if you prefer more crispy, crunchy pizza dough;
  6. After removing the cooked dough from the bbq, let cool on a baking sheet or rack for a few minutes;
  7. Next, add a light layer of your favorite neutral oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil), followed by a generous layer of your favorite pizza or pasta sauce, and a generous helping of your favorite Italian cheese or cheeses of choice (I prefer mozzarella) ;
  8. Then top off your pizza with your favorite toppings. I’ve founded that thinly sliced toppings work best (olives, mushrooms, onions, pineapples, sausage, pepperoni, etc.) Be sure not to overload your pizza with toppings, however, as this may present an issue with undercooking. In particular with any meat toppings, consider precooking toppings like chopped bacon or Italian sausage (I tend to make these pizzas veggie only);
  9. Transfer your prepared pizza pie directly onto an oven rack in your oven preheated to 475 degrees, for eight to ten minutes, until it begins to bubble. Depending on toppings, you may need to adjust cooking time, plus or minus. You may also wish to place a baking tray in a rack beneath your pizza, in case your pizza drips, but I do recommend placing the pizza directly on an over rack for a crispier crust;
  10. Then either remove and cool your pie on a baking rack prior to cutting, or optionally turn the oven to a broil setting and brown the top of the pizza to your liking. If you choose the broil option, be sure to watch the pizza closely, as there’s nothing more disappointing than a burned-to-crisp pizza, not to mention the fire hazard.


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.