Pro basketball’s Philadelphia 76ers are on a 16-game winning streak, but the city of Mount Airy’s streak stands at 24.
That’s the number of years in a row that the finance department of the municipality has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. It is the highest form of recognition given for governmental accounting and public disclosure.
The honor is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association, an organization founded in 1906 which represents public finance officials throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association’s mission is to promote excellence in state and local government financial management.
Its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting program was launched in 1945 to encourage and assist local governments in going beyond minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.
The goal is the preparation of comprehensive annual financial reports that reflect a spirit of transparency and full disclosure, and then to recognize individual government units that succeed in meeting that objective. Participation in the program is voluntary.
Mount Airy Finance Director Pam Stone and members of her staff were honored during a meeting of the city council recently in response to the latest certificate of excellence given for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
“The board (of commissioners) and I applaud you all and appreciate all you’ve done for the city,” Mayor David Rowe told them.
Although Stone has been Mount Airy’s finance director since the fall of 2014, she played an instrumental role in the city’s receiving of the annual recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association for many years previously.
Before becoming director, Stone had logged 20 years with city government, beginning as a staff accountant in 1994 before being promoted to accounting supervisor and later accounting manager in the finance department. She was second in command of the department behind longtime Director John Overton, who resigned in January 2014.
Stone’s involvement with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting pre-dates her career with the city, when she worked for a local accounting firm that audited Mount Airy’s books in the first year it participated in the program.
A breakdown shows that Mount Airy is among about 17 percent of the 553 municipal government units in North Carolina receiving the certificate of excellence.
Unlike an audit, the goal of the recognition program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but ensure that users of their financial statements — such as citizens or watchdog groups — have the information needed to do so.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.