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Donna Herridge: Tackling shared challenges together

There are times when even the largest municipality can benefit from lessons learned in even the smallest one, says Donna Herridge, Executive Director of the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario (MFOA). Established in 1989, MFOA represents individuals across the province who are responsible for handling the financial affairs of municipalities and who are key advisors to councils on matters of finance policy.

Municipal Variety Offers Unique Challenges

In the video, Herridge explains how different municipalities can sometimes face unique challenges given their often different demographics.

“But the needs, when you look at the sector, they are responsible for delivering the exact same,” she said. “The financial statement in the City of Toronto is the same as a financial statement in a smaller community. Our role is actually to provide support, and that support may be different.”

Herridge said there are larger municipalities and regions that assist MFOA by doing the policy work that is possible through having the additional resources to do so. However, in the case of the smaller municipalities, MFOA is looking at more hands-on tools or templates, things that will benefit the membership.

Addressing Common Fiscal Problems

Despite the diversity of local governments, Herridge said, the organization remains focused on finding similarities and common solutions.

“When you have a problem, because there are so many municipalities, the odds are someone else has had that problem and has options around how they solved it,” Herridge said. “When something comes up, we like to get people together. It is really information. They’re all diverse and different, but they also have some of the same needs and issues and can use the same solutions.”  MW

Donna Herridge shared her perspectives on the role of the MFOA, along with the fiscal challenges faced by municipalities, during an interview at the organization’s 2019 conference.

✯ Municipal World Insider and Executive Members: You might also be interested in Sean Meyer’s article: MFOA presents 2019 Excellence in Municipal Finance Awards. Note that you can now access the complete collection of past articles (and more) from your membership dashboard.

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