Fort O budget award, Jennifer Payne-Simpkins and Pam Travillian

When Catoosa County Manager Alicia Vaughn learned that Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins (right) and Fort Oglethorpe Finance Director Pam Travillian (left) had won the 2019 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association, she sent flowers to congratulate them.

Most local folks would agree that Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins is leaving the city better than she found it as she moves on to a new position in Lilburn, but one of the things Simpkins is most pleased about is an award the city earned on Oct. 7: the 2019 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

The award was presented to Simpkins and Fort Oglethorpe Finance Director Pam Travillian. “Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America,” said a press release from GFOA.

“This award,” says Simpkins, “is reserved for state and local governments that prepare budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and GFOA’s best practices on budgeting.”

To earn the award, an entity must show that their budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. Within each of these categories, the entity must be rated “proficient” in 14 additional criteria.

“I was so excited when we won this,” says Simpkins. “I just had to tell someone who I knew would understand what it really meant, so I called Catoosa County Manager Alicia Vaughn. She responded by sending flowers for Pam and me.”

“Pam is an incredible finance director,” says Simpkins. “Alicia wrote on her note with the flowers ‘Congratulations! You girls rock!’”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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